By Jessy Chahine , Daily Star staff, Friday, January 13, 2006 , BEIRUT: A new "hit list" of prominent Lebanese personalities whose lives are said to be in danger was delivered to senior officers of the Internal Security Forces, The Daily Star learned Thursday. Several well-known television hosts are included in the list and at least two of them have left the country. Marcel Ghanem, host of "Kalam al-Nass," a popular political talk show on Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC), will for the foreseeable future be broadcasting his show from Paris. The Daily Star has learned that Ghanem, along with seven other names, was included on a list that was supplied to the ISF by the American Embassy in Lebanon.

The other names included Ali Hamade, a senior writer at An-Nahar and also Future TV host of the political show "Al-Istihqaq." He is the brother of Telecommunications Minister Marwan Hamade, who is also on the list. Some of the other names are Fares Khashan, host of Future TV political show "Al-Tahkik," Walid Jumblatt, head of the Progressive Socialist Party, Tripoli MP Elias Atallah, Social Affairs Minister Nayla Mouawad, and Beirut MP Saad Hariri. The warning letter from the U.S. Embassy included strong recommendations to enhance the personal safety of those named, while simultaneously advising them to reduce their mobility as much as possible.

This is not the first time such hit lists have been issued. However the latest list of targets was remarkable for the number of new "death nominees" – Ali Hamade, Mouawad, Khashan and Ghanem.

Jumblatt, Hariri and Marwan Hamade always made it to the "top 10" of other such lists.

Jumblatt, originally a long-time ally of Damascus, later became one of the most outspoken opponents of Syria’s control over Lebanon.

Hamade, a member of Jumblatt’s PSP party and also known in the past year or so for his anti-Syrian stance, narrowly escaped an assassination attempt made on him in October 2004.

Other alleged targets in former hit lists were MPs Wael Bou Faour, also a PSP member, and Samir Franjieh, a prominent partisan of Hariri’s Future Movement.

Founder of the Movement for a Democratic Left (MDL) and MP Elias Atallah, who has called for the restoration of "Lebanese sovereignty and a re-evaluation of ties with Syria," also featured on previous hit lists.

"All the hit lists of the world will never prevent us from defending our country’s sovereignty," Mouawad told The Daily Star. "This killing machine is just moving on, isn’t it? Nothing seems to stop it," she added.

"We are still faced by that endless terrorist Syrian regime and we still have to fight it," Jumblatt told The Daily Star. MP Michel Aoun, whose name was not included on the current list, remained, according to his spokesperson, "extremely exposed to murder attempts."

"Now more than ever, it’s high time for the government to provide some security and personal protection for those threatened," said Tony Nasrallah, the Free Patriotic Movement’s spokesman. "If we cannot look after our own business, how can we be eligible for sovereignty?"

Nasrallah said media representatives were being particularly targeted because of the "important role they play in the country’s fight for independence."

Ghanem and Khashan flew to France after the warning, while Marwan Hamade set off on a "European tour," according a local news agency.

"That tour has nothing to do with the warning and Marwan is coming back shortly," said a source close to Hamade.

When contacted by The Daily Star, the American Embassy refused to deny or confirm any role in distributing the warning.