BEIRUT (Reuters) – Some thousands mourners chanted anti-Syrian slogans on Thursday at the funeral of a Lebanese legislator killed in a car bomb attack that increased tension with Damascus and deepened Lebanon’s political crisis. Walid Eido was the seventh 14 March figure  figure to be assassinated since February 2005 when former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri was killed in a suicide truck bombing. Allies of Eido blamed his killing on Damascus and said it was Syria’s response to the establishment of a U.N.-backed court to try suspects in the Hariri attack. There was no Syrian comment but a U.N. envoy visiting Damascus said after talks with officials that Syria condemned Wednesday’s bombing near a Beirut beach club in which Eido, his eldest son, two bodyguards and six passers-by were killed. These accusations lack all credibility. The Syrians are not going to respond every time the finger is pointed without any basis at Damascus," a source close to the Syrian government said.

Eido, a Sunni Muslim, belonged to the majority anti-Syrian parliamentary bloc led by Hariri’s son, Saad al-Hariri, which controls the government."I tell the criminals that, God willing, you will be punished and dragged to jail like lowlives," Hariri told the funeral crowd.Businesses, banks and schools were shut in Beirut and elsewhere as Lebanese observed a national day of mourning.Three ambulances carried coffins draped in Lebanese flags to a Beirut mosque. Mourners carried white-and-blue flags of Hariri’s Future Trend movement and filed past pictures of Eido and his lawyer son with the slogan "Men of Justice.""We have been living in the shadow of savage crimes, but we will not change our path," said one man, who gave his name only as Bassam. "We will stay the course until the truth appears and justice takes its course."The bodies were later laid to rest after final prayers were performed at the mosque.


Eido’s death was likely to fuel tension between the government and the opposition

Parliament member Wael Abou-Faour said the assassination was aimed at cutting the Hariri bloc’s parliamentary majority, which now is down to 68 in the originally 128-member assembly

Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said the government was asking the U.N. commission investigating Hariri’s assassination to help with the inquiry into Eido’s killing. He called on the Arab League to take action to protect Lebanon.

Five less powerful bombs have exploded in and around Beirut in the past month, killing two people.