Lebanon's Hariri says assassination plot uncovered

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CAIRO, Oct 30 (Reuters) The leader of Lebanon'santi-Syrian coalition today said he had information about a plot to kill him and Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, which he said was planned by a senior Syrian official.

Saad al-Hariri, son of slain former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, said after talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak that Lebanese security agencies are investigating the information in cooperation with other Arab agencies.

Asked whether Assef Shawkat, the director of Syrian military intelligence and brother-in-law of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, was behind the alleged plot, he said: ''We have information about this, and we're following up on it.'' ''It is accurate information, but the security agencies are working and there is cooperation between the Lebanese security agencies and Arab security agencies on the attempt to assassinate not just me, but also (Prime Minister) Siniora.'' Shawkat is among 10 Syrian officials and Lebanese politicians Washington accuses of undermining the Lebanese government, and who are banned from entering the United States.

The anti-Syrian coalition accuses Damascus of orchestrating a series of political killings in Lebanon, which began with the February 14, 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Hariri.

Syria denies the allegations.

Around 40 members of the coalition have moved into a hotel to protect themselves from assassins who have struck against their bloc three times in less than a year. The last attack came on Sept. 19, when a car bomb killed lawmaker Antoine Ghanem.

REUTERS RJ ND2056

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