Habib Tanious Shartouni

Habib Tanious Shartouni

Habib Tanious Shartouni (حبيب الشرتوني) assassinated the Lebanese president-elect Bashir Gemayel.

Habib Tanious Shartouni, a Christian Maronite, born on the 24th of April 1958 in Aley Mount Lebanon. He was influenced by the ideas of the Syrian Socialist National Party (SSNP) in the early 1970s through a close friend called Henry Hani. When the Lebanese Civil War broke out, he was approached by the SSNP party and served in one of its stations in Aley, mount Lebanon.

Few months later, he was advised by his parents to leave Lebanon to Cyprus and then to France where he studied in one of its universities and obtained a degree. He had spent his first year in Paris away from politics, until the late summer of 1977 during a visit to Lebanon where he had become an official and active member of the party.

Upon his return to France, he had all the necessary contacts of the party's delegates in Paris and started attending some of their secret meetings, wherein he met Nabil Alam who was the chief of interior in the party back then, which made Shartouni so impressed by his personality and so eager to work with him and even obey his orders.

After four years of studies in Paris, he went back to Lebanon and became a very close friend to Nabil Alam, who was able to convince him of the necessity of getting rid of Bashir Gemayel, knowing that Shartouni had used to live in the third floor of the premise where the Kataeb headquarter was located, and where Bashir would be present so often.

He was advised by Nabil Alam to carry the explosives from his place in West Beirut to the other end in Ashrafieh above the Kataeb headquarter. After he had carried all the necessary explosives, he received the detonator from Nabil Alam where he managed to carry it easily to his place and place it along with the explosives.

Shartouni decided that it was the proper time to carry out the operation, then on the night of September 13, 1982, he sneaked onto the second floor of the building housing the Kataeb Party Office in Ashrafieh. His behavior did not arouse suspicion since he lived on the third floor of the same building with his sister and grandparents. He got into the room right above the platform on which Bashir and his companions would be seated and stashed about 40 to 50 kg of high explosives.

The next afternoon Shartouni stuck around the place until he made sure Bashir arrived, and walked out of the building. He ran to the sector of Nasra with the detonator. Right after the blast Shartouni walked back to the premises to check the result.

Two days later Shartouni was arrested by the Lebanese Forces. Stating with no regrets or fear, the 26-year-old Shartouni confessed at a press conference before being handed over to the Lebanese Justice by the Lebanese Forces, he called Bashir a traitor and accused him of selling the country to Israel. Shartouni confessed, "I was given the explosives and the fancy long-range electronic detonator in West Beirut’s Ras Beirut neighborhood by Nabil El Alam, Chief intelligence of the Party. "Alam" had close ties to the Syrian Intelligence Services and right after the assassination fled to Syria and vanished into thin air, the Syrians operated with the Secret Services of an eastern country.

Shartouni was handed over to the Lebanese justice where Amine Gemayel, Bashir's elder brother, succeeded him to the presidency seat right after his assassination.
Habib had spent eight years in a dungeon without an official trial, until the 13th of October 1990 when he was forcibly liberated by the invading Syrian troops attacking Baabda to put an end to Michel Aoun's insurgence.

References

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