Lebanon: Senior army officer, bodyguards killed in Beirut bombing attack
A senior Lebanese army officer died in a blast east of Beirut on Wednesday, security sources said. The victim - Brig. Gen. Francois Hajj, director of operations for the Lebanese Army - was killed in the explosion that rocked Baabda neighborhood. According to Reuters, Hajj was a leading candidate to take over as army commander when current commander General Michel Suleiman is elected president.
At least four people were killed in the explosion, local sources reported. The army said the other victims were Hajj's bodyguards. The blast was near the site of Lebanon's presidential palace located at the Christian suburb. Army headquarters and the Defense Ministry are located in nearby Yarze village.
Witnesses said several cars were ablaze and dozens of people were hurt in the explosion, which occurred early in the morning. Security sources said the explosion weighed 20 kilograms and was placed in a BMW –320 series. It left a 2-meter diameter, one-meter deep crater.