A pre-trial conference for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013. (The Daily Star/STL, HO)
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Former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri's relations with Hezbollah were "not warm" before his assassination and reflected tensions with Syrian President Bashar Assad, judges at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon were told Tuesday.The court also ruled that Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, a staunch ally of Hariri and Assad opponent, may be summoned to testify about the assassination.Defense lawyers also revealed that Mustafa Badreddine, the senior Hezbollah commander indicted in connection with Hariri's murder, fought alongside Jumblatt's militia and the Palestine Liberation Organization for two weeks in Ouzai, a neighborhood in south Beirut, against Israel's 1982 invasion.On relations with Hezbollah, Hamade said that Hariri had bestowed "favors" on the party, pointing to his mediation with French President Jacques Chirac in 1996 to arrange the April Understanding that ended Israel's brutal Grapes of Wrath campaign, which limited the conflict to the military zones in South Lebanon.Hamade's testimony runs counter to the general belief that Hariri and Hezbollah's Secretary-General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah were close and held frequent meetings before the former's assassination.
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