Staunch Aoun Supporter and Wife and two children Slain
BAABDA, Lebanon (AP) _ Five uniformed gunmen on Sunday shot to death a staunch supporter of ousted Gen. Michel Aoun and his wife and two small sons at their home east of Beirut, police said.
The identities of the gunmen were not known and there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the slaying of Dany Chamoun, son of the late President Camille Chamoun.
The slayings came a week after Syrian and government troops of President Elias Hrawi’s army crushed Aoun’s mutiny in Lebanon’s Christian heartland. Aoun remains in the French Embassy, where he sought asylum when his forces were attacked.
Police said the assailants, using 9mm pistols equipped with silencers, riddled the Chamouns with bullets in their fifth-floor apartment in the hilltop suburb of Baabda.
Chamoun, 56, Ingrid Abdel-Noor and their son Tarek, 7, died instantly. The other son, Julien, 5, was taken to a nearby hospital where he died 15 minutes after admission, police said.
The Christian leader’s 11-month-old daughter, Tamara, escaped unharmed. Reporters saw her held by her weeping governess at the Chamoun apartment.
The assassins arrived in two cars at the entrance to the nine-story building at 6 a.m. while four guards assigned to protect the Chamoun family were changing shifts, police said.
Chamoun, a Maronite Catholic, was one of the most outspoken critics of Hrawi and Syria’s military presence in Lebanon.
Chamoun inherited the leadership of the righist Christian National Liberal Party in 1987 upon the death of his father, who ruled Lebanon from 1952 to 1958.
The younger Chamoun sought the presidency in 1988, when former President Amin Gemayel’s term expired.
But parliament was unable to meet to elect a successor and Gemayel appointed Aoun - who then was army commander - as prime minister of a caretaker military cabinet until a new president was elected.
Hrawi was elected president Nov. 24, 1989, but Aoun rejected that election on grounds it was held in Syrian-controlled territory. Aoun contended that his three-man cabinet remained the only legitimate authority in the country.
Chamoun, who sided with Aoun, was dismayed when Aoun fled his command headquarters in the presidential palace in Baabda minutes after the air- supported attack of Hrawi’s troops and the Syrian army began Oct 13.
″I can’t believe the general has done this to us,″ Chamoun said the next day. ″May God help us.″