A bomb went off near an overpass in mainly Christian east Beirut on Friday, killing a police officer and at least nine other people, a security source said. Some reports claimed three other people were killed.
According to Reuters, the source identified the officer as Wisam Eid, a captain in a Lebanese police intelligence unit which is widely viewed as close to ruling coalition leader Saad al-Hariri.
Firemen sprayed water over blazing cars and debris scattered over a road near the Mount Lebanon hospital in the suburb of Hazmiyeh, home to several diplomatic missions. A charred corpse was visible in one car. Body parts were strewn on the road.
Eid had survived two previous assassination attempts, including a 2006 hand grenade targeting his house and a raid in the northern port city of Tripoli, Interior Minister Hassan Sabaa said. Eid was "one of the most important officers in the intelligence department," Sabaa said. "They (attackers) are trying to hit the backbone of the Lebanese state, which is security."
"Eid was a key member of the ISF and was involved in many investigations concerning bombings in Lebanon, including a February 2007 bombing in a Christian area. He was involved in sensitive probes and this is a major loss for us," a senior security official said.
Captain Eid was in his 30s and had been working with the ISF for about eight years, Naharnet reported. As news of the killing spread to Eid's hometown of Deir Ammar north of Tripoli, dozens of villagers burnt car tires and blocked the coastal highway linking Lebanon's second-largest city with the Syrian border.
In Damascus, an "official information source" condemned the Beirut explosion. The Syrian source described the bombing as "targeting the security, and stability of Lebanon."
In a statement to SANA , the source reiterated Syria's permanent care for the security and stability of Lebanon , pointing out that the perpetrators of the bombing were Lebanon's enemies.