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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 November 2006, 18:37 GMT
Lebanese views on assassination
Three Lebanese people in Beirut discuss the significance of Tuesday's killing of the anti-Syrian Lebanese Christian leader Pierre Gemayel.

AMANI KALAAGI, LAWYER, SUNNI MUSLIM

I am very sad. I support the party this minister was from and I support Saad Hariri - not because I am Sunni but because I like its vision for Lebanon.

A short while ago I was speaking at a conference. When we heard the news it was as if a bomb had exploded. The mood of the people was very frightening.

I can't tell you the words coming out of the mouths of people you would never imagine hated each other.

People are talking about Sunnis and Shias in a way they never used to.

Lawyers are meant to be educated. But today they were full of emotion and hatred. For the first time I felt this was going to lead to some horrible consequences.

How many assassinations have there been in Lebanon over the past three years? It's one after another.

A 10-year-old kid would be able to tell you who is behind this.

I am well educated and I have many sects and religious groups in my family. I don't want to follow this feeling people have against others.

But not all people think clearly like me.

TONI MAALOUF, TV EXECUTIVE, CATHOLIC

I felt anger and frustration when I heard the news. Something has to be done, the status quo cannot continue.

Toni Maalouf

Lebanon has always been a place for all sorts of religions. People who were persecuted could run away to Lebanon. The Christian community always had the freedom to be and to express themselves.

But the assassinations take place in Christian areas. The security is not effective enough in our areas; maybe we need our own security.

In the Hezbollah areas, they take care of their own security; and that works well for them.

I think we need a much stronger intelligence service and stronger security forces, which are independent of politics. We should all just stop talking about politics, maybe then we can all prosper.

We're being dragged into a civil war which we do not want. We really want peace.

After this latest assassination, our political leaders urged people not to go on the streets.

But the Christian community in its majority and the youth in particular were very frustrated. We wanted to express our anger.

There's a big demonstration on Thursday for the funeral; we are waiting to see what will happen then.

GEORGE BITAR, BUSINESSMAN, HEZBOLLAH SUPPORTER

Who will benefit from this? The other side, of course, the 14 March grouping.

Tomorrow we [Hezbollah] were going to go on a peaceful demonstration against the government. But now we cannot, because it is too soon after this death.

So the 14 March group benefits from the reaction to the death.

I am not defending the people who did this.

If it was the Syrians, they would have killed someone more important. And they are not so stupid to kill him 24 hours before our people were due to go on a demonstration.

This is sad. Nobody knows tonight what will happen. The future is grey, uncertain.

Hezbollah wants calm, it just wants justice.

The timing of the Hariri tribunal is not significant.

Too much importance is being given to this tribunal. There are other more important things that need to be considered such as the rebuilding of Lebanon.



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The scene of the attack on the streets of Beirut



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