Lokman Slim, a prominent Lebanese publisher and vocal critic of the Shiite terror group Hezbollah was found shot dead in his car Thursday morning with multiple bullets in his body at close range, security and forensic officials said.
Lokman Slim had been reported missing for hours when his body was discovered in Southern Lebanon.
Family sources said Lokman was visiting friends in a southern village and was expected back in Beirut the same day.
Caretaker Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi told a local television channel that Lokman Slim was assassinated.
Slim, 58, was a Shiite activist who advocated a secular and inclusive society.
A forensic coroner on the scene said Slim was shot in his chest, head and neck with four bullets that killed him on the spot. Blood was splattered over the passenger seat of a rental car, where his body had apparently fallen.
The killing of Slim caused a shock in Lebanon, and many feared it signaled a return to political violence. Lebanon has a history of political crimes and violence, but it has been years since such killings have occurred.
European Union Ambassador to Lebanon Ralph Tarraf tweeted that he was shocked and saddened by the killing of Slim, calling it an assassination.
“We deplore the prevailing culture of impunity in #Lebanon in which such heinous acts take place and demand a proper investigation by the competent authorities,” Tarraf said.
Lokman Slim was born in the southern suburbs of Beirut. The vocal critic of Hezbollah continued to live with his family in the suburbs, which is a stronghold of the group.