Two Asians killed in blast near Beirut; Opposition blames Lebanon security agencies
An explosion tore through a business center in a Christian town near Beirut early Wednesday, killing at least two people.
Shortly after midnight, a 45-pound bomb rocked the shopping center near Jounieh, the main Christian port city about 10 miles north of Beirut. Police said they believed it was placed at the center when it was closed, The AP reported.
Police said two people were killed and two injured. LBC TV, the leading station in the country, said three people were killed and eight wounded. Police said the victims were an Indian and a Pakistani who had long worked as janitors in Kaslik's Alta Vista Tower, where four others –two Sri Lankans and two Lebanese-- were. One injured Lebanese was treated on the spot for minor cuts from flying glass and sent home while the other three were hospitalized with critical wounds.
It was the second bombing since Saturday, when a car bomb in a northern Christian suburb of Beirut injured nine people.
Legislator Farid Khazen said the latest attack was a response by the commanders of Lebanon's major security branches to the opposition demand that they all be fired for failing to prevent ex-Premier Rafik Hariri's assassination Feb. 14.
The explosion has sharpened the political turmoil gripping Lebanon after Hariri's assassination, which created massive international pressure on Syria to withdraw its army and intelligence personnel.
On Tuesday, pro-Syrian protesters called for the U.S. ambassador's expulsion and tore a portrait of President Bush, who has repeatedly called on Syria to remove its troops and intelligence agents from Lebanon.
Also Tuesday, a newspaper owned by the Hariri family reported U.N. experts investigating the ex-Premier's Feb. 14 assassination are expected to accuse Lebanese authorities of negligence and evidence tampering. The team completed its probe March 16 and is due to release its confidential report later this week, but leaks have emerged.