Lebanon opposition MPs receive 'Syria threats' by SMS
AFP, Tuesday 23 Oct 2012
Death threats from a Syrian phone number were sent to a Lebanese opposition MP as well as four of his colleagues, Lebanese opposition MP states

A Lebanese opposition MP has said he and four colleagues were texted death threats from a Syrian telephone number before and after a top security official was killed last week in a Beirut bomb attack.

"On the eve of the (Friday) attack, we received an SMS from a Syrian number that read: 'Sons of bitches, we will get you one by one,'" Ammar Houry said on television on Monday night.

He named the other MPs as Ahmad Fatfat, Hadi Hbeish, Khaled al-Daher and Nuhad al-Mashnuk.

"At the time, we didn't pay any attention to it, until the assassination of General Wissam al-Hassan," the intelligence chief killed in a Beirut bombing widely blamed on Damascus that also left two others dead.

"After the assassination, we received a second SMS that read: 'Congratulations, the countdown has begun. One of 10 eliminated.'"

Hassan was noted for his investigation of Syrian political crimes in Lebanon. His murder plunged the country, divided between partisans and opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, into political crisis.

Houry and the four other MPs belong to the March 14 opposition, which is led by Saad Hariri, a strong opponent of Assad, whom he blames for the 2005 assassination of his father and former premier, Rafiq.

The opposition has demanded that Prime Minister Najib Mikati resign, accusing him of covering for the murderers of Hassan.

In multi-confessional Lebanon, the majority of Sunni Muslims opposed Assad's regime, while most Shiites support it, and Christians are divided.

Since Rafiq Hariri's murder, several other Lebanese political figures hostile to the Damascus regime have also been assassinated.