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Last Updated: Friday, 13 July 2007, 01:30 GMT 02:30 UK
Hariri panel 'has found suspects'
Heart-shaped poster of Rafik Hariri at a demonstration on the second anniversary of his death, 14 Feb 2007
Hariri's killing sparked protests that pressured Syria to leave Lebanon
The UN panel investigating the murder of Lebanese ex-PM Rafik Hariri has identified a number of people involved, the head of the inquiry has said.

In his latest report, Serge Brammertz said he now knew the names of people who bought the van used in the 2005 assassination in Beirut.

He also said people who bought mobile phone cards to spy on Mr Hariri had played a role - but gave no names.

Syria has denied allegations that its intelligence services were involved.

The document is the eighth report submitted to the Security Council by Mr Brammertz - a Belgian prosecutor.

It says a consolidation of information had helped identify "important aspects and individuals of common interest across several areas of the investigation".

Political killing

The report said the van in which a suicide bomber is believed to have set off the massive bomb which killed Mr Hariri and 22 others was stolen in Japan and then shipped to the United Arab Emirates.

The UN team "has recently acquired information regarding the sale of the van to individuals who could be involved in the final preparation of the van for the attack," Brammertz said.

UN investigators had already described Rafik Hariri's killing as political but unlike his predecessor as chief investigator, Detlev Mehlis, Mr Brammertz has not accused Syrian officials of complicity.

Mr Hariri was a prominent critic of Syria, and supported a UN resolution in 2004 which demanded that Syrian and other foreign troops withdraw from Lebanon.

A UN investigation after the killing implicated Syria and Lebanese security forces in the attack, but Damascus denied any involvement in his death.

Four Lebanese generals who are pro-Syria have been under arrest for 20 months, accused of involvement in Mr Hariri's murder.

In 2005, Syria withdrew its troops from Lebanon after a presence of 29 years, following massive domestic and international pressure after the assassination of Mr Hariri.

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