Naharnet

Mourners Converge on al-Amin Mosque as Family Prepares to Bury Shatah

Politicians, clergymen, diplomats, civil society activists and grieving relatives converged on Mohammed al-Amin mosque in downtown Beirut on Saturday to extend their condolences to the family of former Finance Minister Mohammed Shatah.

President Michel Suleiman and caretaker Premier Najib Miqati were at the helm of top officials who condoled the family and the leader of al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc former PM Fouad Saniora.

Miqati announced Sunday a day of mourning, saying TV and radio stations would broadcast at noon one hour of programs that are suitable with the “painful incident.”

He urged the Lebanese to stand a moment of silence for five minutes at 12:00 pm “to condemn the heinous crime” and express a “comprehensive rejection of terrorism.”

Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat also offered his condolences to the family of Shatah at al-Amin mosque.

Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Rokn Abadi offered his condolences to the family of Shatah, considering that “the crime only serves Israel that is working on inciting sedition in Lebanon and the region.”

“We deeply need dialogue and to focus on the common points,” the ambassador said.

The 62-year-old Shatah, who was also a former ambassador to the U.S. and an adviser to al-Mustaqbal movement chief ex-Premier Saad Hariri, was killed along with his driver and five others in a car bombing in downtown Beirut on Friday.

The Honda CRV that blew up was rigged with up to 60 kilograms of explosives, and parked along Shatah's route in the posh neighborhood. The blast struck the former minister's four-wheeler as he was driving to a meeting at Hariri's downtown residence known as Center House.

Shatah had stated in his will that he wished to be buried beside his mother in the family's cemetery in the northern city of Tripoli.

However, the March 14 alliance got the family's approval to bury him Sunday near the graveyard of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in Beirut Central District.


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