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2005: Explosion kills former Lebanon PM

Former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri has been killed in an apparent assassination in west Beirut.

The blast, which reports say killed about nine people and injured 100 others, may have been causesd by a car bomb.

It went off beside the derelict St Georges Hotel on the seafront, causing widespread damage.

The killing comes as tension is reported to be rising between Syria, Lebanon's political master, and members of the opposition.

Mr Hariri resigned as prime minister and joined the opposition last October.

He was hoping to stage a comeback in legislative elections next May.

It is still unclear what caused the massive explosion, but a little-known group calling itself Victory and Jihad in Greater Syria has issued a statement claiming the killing, saying it was a suicide bomb, says the BBC's Kim Ghattas in Beirut.

The authenticity of the statement could not be verified.

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