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Trial starts for 4 Hezbollah suspects in assassination of Lebanese ex-prime minister Hariri

Nearly nine years after a truck bomb killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 22 others, the trial is starting for four Hezbollah suspects accused of plotting the sectarian assassination.

Uniquely in modern international law, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, housed in a former spy agency headquarters on the outskirts of The Hague, is trying the suspects in their absence because the Shiite militia Hezbollah has vowed never to arrest them.

The suicide assassination with a ton of explosives on Feb. 14, 2005, was one of the most dramatic assassinations in the Middle East's modern history, fueling sectarian divisions between Sunni and Shiite Muslims. Violence between members of the two sects has claimed the lives of thousands over the past years mostly in Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and Lebanon.