File - Former head of Syrian military intelligence in Lebanon, General Rustom Ghazali, attends a military ceremony in Rayaq in the eastern Bekaa Valley, April 26, 2005. AFP PHOTO/PATRICK BAZ
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News emerged Friday that the powerful former head of Syrian military intelligence in Lebanon Rustom Ghazaleh, a key suspect in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, has died.The source said Ghazaleh had been fired after getting into a fight with another Syrian official in early March.Ghazaleh was reportedly severely beaten in early March upon orders from Syrian military intelligence chief Lt. Gen. Rafik Shehadeh.Ghazaleh, 62, succeeded Ghazi Kanaan as head of Syrian military intelligence in Lebanon in 2002 during Syria's tutelage over Lebanon, which lasted until Damascus pulled its troops from the country in 2005 .The payments, Shamaa said, were intended to placate Ghazaleh, who oversaw the vast Syrian security network in Lebanon.Syrian opposition leader Michel Kilo said if Ghazaleh's death was confirmed, the Syrian regime stood behind his assassination.
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