The chief U.N. investigator leading the probe into the assassination of Lebanon's former premier Rafik Hariri said Thursday that he believed more people could be involved in the killing than the five pro-Syrian suspects already identified and arrested.
Detlev Mehlis, from Germany, also said the U.N. Security Council ordered investigation has not uncovered any Syrian suspects linked to the Feb. 14 bombing that killed Hariri and 20 others and said he was willing to go to Damascus to meet Syrian officials.
"The five suspects we have arrested, in our assessment, are only part of the picture," Detlev Mehlis told scores of reporters attending a packed news conference near Beirut. "So we'll have to further investigate further and we do think more people are involved."
During the past week, the investigation into Hariri's assassination took a dramatic turn with Tuesday's detention of three pro-Syrian generals who led Lebanon's security services when Hariri was killed but resigned in the ensuing political upheaval, reports the AP.
According to CNN, Hariri's death provoked massive protests that led to the April withdrawal of thousands of Syrian forces from Lebanon, ending a three-decade occupation, and the ouster of Lebanon's pro-Syrian government.
Many Lebanese blamed Syria and its Lebanese allies, particularly members of the country's security apparatus, for the assassination. Both sides have denied the allegations.
There has been no official reaction from Damascus to the latest developments, but Syrian media, all state-run, reported the news, and editorials dismissed insinuations of a possible Syrian role as an attempt to discredit the country.
"Misleading campaigns are continuing," said a front-page headline in Al-Thawra newspaper.