Hezbollah members 'facing Rafik Hariri charges'

Hassan Nasrallah appearing on al-Manar TV, file pic Mr Nasrallah claimed the UN-backed tribunal was politically motivated

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The head of Hezbollah has said that some of its members will be among those charged with the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005.

Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the militant Shia movement, said some of the group would be indicted by the UN-backed court within the coming months.

He has dismissed the move as part of a US and Israeli conspiracy.

Mr Hariri and 22 other people were killed in Beirut in a car bomb in 2005.

Mr Nasrallah said he had been told by current Prime Minister Saad Hariri - the son of Rafik Hariri - that those indicted would be regarded as "rogue elements" rather than representative of the group.

Speaking by video link for security reasons, he said it was part of a plan by the US and Israel to impose their will on the region.

He said the international tribunal had lead Hezbollah to an "extremely sensitive phase", but that it knew how to defend itself.

'Political'

However, he advised Prime Minister Hariri and others to revise their positions, in the national interest.

There has been rampant speculation that indictments might be issued against Hezbollah members in September, and that tension and violence might result.

But Mr Nasrallah dismissed the suggestion that Hezbollah might start a war with Israel in order to divert attention from the affair.

He said that there were no Syrians among those expected to be indicted, despite numerous early accusations that Syria was behind the assassination.

He said this just went to show that the tribunal was highly political in nature.

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