At least 150,000 Lebanese turned the funeral of former &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/world/2001/10/31/19675.html' target=_blank>Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri on Wednesday into an outpouring of public anger against Syria, blamed by Opposition leaders for the bomb that killed him.
"Syria out, Syria out," the mourners shouted as people threw rice from balconies onto an ambulance carrying the body of a man who had joined calls for Syrian troops to leave Lebanon. US envoy William F Burns, in Beirut for the funeral, said Syria must take Hariri’s death as a cue to end a military presence maintained since a 1976 civil war intervention and stop political meddling.
In tears, Hariri’s sons and relatives bore his coffin, draped in a Lebanese flag, from the ambulance into an unfinished mosque Hariri had financed in downtown Beirut, reports the Indian Express.
Internationally, pressure mounted to find Hariri's killers, with Washington recalling its ambassador and the &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/usa/2003/02/25/43713.html' target=_blank>UN Security Council demanding that Lebanon catch those responsible for Hariri's slaying.
In a sign of Hariri's popularity and his ability to reach across Lebanon's often-volatile divisions, Sunni Muslim clerics, Druse leaders in white turbans and ordinary Lebanese Shi'ites and Christians all marched in the funeral procession. Hariri was a Sunni Arab.
Breaking with Islamic tradition, hundreds of weeping women waving white handkerchiefs joined men in the march.
Church bells rang loudly as the procession neared the towering Mohammed al-Amin Mosque in a central Beirut square, mixing with the chanting mourners, the drum beats from a military band and the loud calls of Islamic prayers, writes the Jerusalem Post.
Secretary of State &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/mailbox/22/101/399/14595_rice.html ' target=_blank>Condoleezza Rice Wednesday endorsed an international investigation of Monday's assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. In Senate testimony, the secretary also said the U.S. ambassador to Syria, recalled for consultations, will remain in Washington indefinitely.
Representatives of the Israeli Defence Ministry responded to recent reports about the possible delivery of S-300 SAM systems from Russia to Syria. Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Israel would destroy those systems
Russia is to start supplying S-300 air defence systems to Syria in the near future. The shipments will be conducted free of charge