21 Oct 2012

Lebanese urged to attend funeral of slain official

10:00 pm on 21 October 2012

Opposition politicians in Lebanon have called for a mass turn-out at the funeral of the intelligence chief Wissam al-Hassan, who was killed in a bomb attack on Friday, along with seven others.

Lebanese opposition leader Saad Hariri, who blames Damascus for Friday's bomb attack, has called on all citizens to attend the funeral saying: "Every one of you is personally invited."

There has been anti-Syrian unrest in several parts of Lebanon, with opposition protesters blocking roads.

Mr Hassan, who was 47, headed the intelligence arm of Lebanon's internal security forces and was close to Mr Hariri.

The BBC reports his funeral is due to be held in Martyrs' Square in central Beirut.

He will be buried alongside Mr Hariri's father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Rafik Hariri was killed by a car bomb in Beirut in 2005. Mr Hassan led an investigation implicating Damascus in the attack.

A day of national mourning was held on Saturday.

Residents in the mainly Christian district of Ashrafiya, where the bomb went off, held a vigil for the victims.

Also on Saturday, Mr Mikati offered to resign as prime minister, but President Michel Suleiman asked him to stay on in the national interest.