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Elie Hobeika assasinated in Beirut

Former Lebanese minister and militia head Elie Hobeika died in an explosion Thursday when his vehicle blew up as he turned the ignition key, government sources said.

But Israelis aren't the only ones who have reason to fear the lawsuit over Sabra and Shatila. The Israeli Kahan Commission - which originally found that Sharon bore personal responsibility for the massacre, leading him to resign - also named the Lebanese militia commander, Elie Hobeika.

Mr. Hobeika was head of intelligence for the Lebanese Christian militia. It is widely believed he was tasked with sending his militiamen into the camps to carry out the massacre, under order of the Israelis. Although he has not been named in the Belgium lawsuit, the suit draws upon the findings of the Kahan Commission, and declares that any Israeli or Lebanese found "responsible" for the massacre could be charged.

Mr. Hobeika later switched his allegiance from Israel to Syria and served as a Lebanese government minister from 1991 to 1998. Today, he has retired from politics and is a successful businessman. But, like Sharon, his blood-soaked past has returned to haunt him.

Hobeika emerged from the shadows recently to claim innocence in the massacre and express his willingness to travel to Belgium to testify in court.

"My name appeared in only one place: the Kahan commission," he said. "I have two things in my possession: evidence that proves my innocence, and information that tells a different story from that told by the Kahan Commission."



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