Murder in Beirut

BEIRUT — On Friday, a double murder shocked Lebanon and made a tense situation even more taut. Here’s the story I filed for the San Francisco Chronicle:

The second anniversary of Syria’s withdrawal from Lebanon in the face of huge popular protests after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri ended in two gruesome killings Thursday.

The bodies of Ziad Qabalan, 25, and Ziad Ghandour, 12, two Sunnis with ties to the Progressive Socialist Party, a political party led by anti-Syrian Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, were found by police in the southern coastal village of Jadra three days after they were kidnapped off a Beirut street. The bodies reportedly showed signs of torture.

Since then, we’ve had condolences upon condolences, but no fighting, thankfully. This might be the one opportunity for Lebanese squabbling warlords _cum_ politicians to step back from the brink. No one wants to see more dead 12-year-olds, I don’t believe.