Japan will send three police experts to help a U.N. team investigate the February car-bombing assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, according to sources.

The dispatch of three officers of the MPD’s identification section will mark the first time Japan has sent police officers abroad to take part in an international investigation spearheaded by the United Nations in line with a terrorist incident.

Japan has sent police officers abroad in connection with other types of crime, including identification section members who took part in international emergency relief missions in large-scale disasters and supervised the use of identification equipment.

The officers will join the U.N. International Independent Investigation Commission, created by the U.N. Security Council in April, for several months starting in September.

Their work will include analyzing material, including bomb fragments, from the scene of the car bombing, the sources said.

On Feb. 14, 20 people, including the former prime minister and his bodyguards, were killed and more than 100 others were wounded in the car-bomb attack in Beirut.

Investigators have yet to identify the perpetrators and to explain how they pulled off the attack.

Immediately after the blast, an Islamist group issued a statement claiming responsibility.

Many Lebanese have accused Syria of involvement in the explosion, which threw Lebanon into its worst political crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.

Syria has denied involvement, but under pressure from the Lebanese public and the international community, it withdrew its troops from Lebanon, which it had dominated for nearly 30 years.

The U.N. Security Council set up the commission in April after a U.N. fact-finding mission found “serious flaws” in the Lebanese investigation.

The investigative team, led by Detlev Mehlis, a senior German prosecutor, began work in late May and will submit its final report to the Security Council.

The commission has said so far that the blast was caused by a truck bomb, and is now questioning a number of people, including Syrian officials and Lebanon’s presidential guard.

Hariri, 60, was prime minister from 1992 to 1998 and again from 2000 until his resignation last October, after a dispute with President Emile Lahoud. He had planned to run again in national elections in May.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.