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Editor Who Disclosed Iran Deal Is Shot

September 15, 1987|Associated Press

BEIRUT — The Lebanese journalist who disclosed the secret U.S. arms sales to Iran was shot and wounded Monday by a gunman riding a motorcycle.

A doctor said that Hassan Sabra, publisher and editor of the Beirut weekly magazine Ash Shiraa, suffered four bullet wounds in the head, neck and chest and may have been blinded.

Sabra, 38, a Shia Muslim, made enemies though his reporting in Ash Shiraa on Iranian politics and foreign hostages held in Lebanon.

He was headed for the magazine's office in Muslim West Beirut in his chauffeur-driven white Mercedes-Benz when the motorcycle pulled alongside and the gunman, seated behind the driver, opened fire. Sabra's 12-year-old daughter was slightly injured, police said.

Sabra's driver-bodyguard told reporters that he fired his pistol at the assailants as they fled but was unsure if he hit them.

Sabra gained international fame when his magazine made the first disclosure late last year of the secret American arms sales to Iran.

He is known to have close ties with the Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri, the designated heir of Iran's leader, the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and head of the militant wing in the government that opposes any deal with the United States. Montazeri's supporters have criticized less militant leaders, including Parliament Speaker Hashemi Rafsanjani, who handled the secret talks with Washington over the arms deals.

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