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Shiite Journalist Shot Dead

February 11, 1993

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) _ A gunman pumped 45 bullets into a Shiite Muslim man who worked as a free- lance journalist, killing him six months after his German wife died in a car-bombing, police said Thursday.

The victim was identified as Ghassan Mustafa Habbas, 37, a restaurant owner who worked for Der Spiegel magazine during the Gulf War.

The assailant burst into Habbas’ Ranchito restaurant on the outskirts of the Christian port of Jounieh on Tuesday night and opened fire with a 9mm submachine gun, according to a police spokesman, who cannot be named according to regulations.

Habbas’ bullet-riddled body was discovered Wednesday, the spokesman said. There were no witnesses because the restaurant was empty when the attack occurred.

The spokesman said the assailant appeared to have been a professional.

″He emptied 45 bullets into the victim’s body between the neck and waist,″ the spokesman said. ″There was no deviation in the line of firing which indicated that the assailant was an experienced gunman.″

The spokesman said the shots were fired at close range, and ″black burns from the explosion of gunpowder appeared on the victim’s body.″

He said police had no suspects or motive for the slaying.

Habbas had recently visited Kurdish northern Iraq with a French television crew and planned to go to Bosnia-Herzegovina to report on the war there.

Habbas’ German wife, Gabrielle Hilson, 29, was killed in August when a bomb exploded in her Italian-made Fiat Uno car as she drove to a store to get milk for the couple’s 7-month-old daughter.

There was speculation at the time of her death that Habbas was the intended target, although police never said whether that was the case or disclosed a motive.

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