News, January 2008
4-10 People Killed in Beirut Bombing, Including Intelligence Investigator Wissam Eid
Beirut bombing kills 10: TV
Compiled by Daily Star staff Friday, January 25, 2008
BEIRUT, Jan 25, 2008 (AFP) -
A powerful bomb targeting a security convoy killed at least 10 people and wounded many more in an eastern area of Beirut (Hazmiyeh - Chevrolet Area), local television reported.
An army official put the death toll at ten and told AFP that Captain Wissam Eid, a member of the Internal Security Forces, was one of the dead.
Flames engulfed cars, trapping several people as firefighters battled to extinguish the fires and security forces cordoned off the area.
Thick black smoke curled into the sky as ambulances rushed to the scene, an area of office buildings and parking lots on a highway leading out of Beirut.
Cars in one parking lot were set ablaze and badly damaged by the force of the blast.
Local TV showed pictures of at least one charred body in a burnt out vehicle. http://www.dailystar.com.lb
Ten days ago a US embassy vehicle was targeted in a car bomb attack. No one in the US car was killed in that attack but three other people who were driving in the area died.
That bombing was the first such attack against US interests in Lebanon since the mid-1980s and came during a visit to the Middle East by US President George W. Bush.
Lebanon is grappling with its worst political crisis since the end of the 1975-1990 civil war.
The country has been without a president since pro-Syrian head of state Emile Lahoud stepped down on November 23 with no elected successor because of a standoff between the Western-backed government and the opposition.-AFP
Intelligence officer among others killed by Beirut bomb
By Agence France Presse (AFP)
BEIRUT, Jan 25, 2008 (AFP) -
A senior intelligence officer investigating (previous bombings and) killings was slain with three other people in a car bombing in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, on Friday, officials said.
Captain Wissam Eid, 31, a member of the Internal Security Forces (ISF), was among the dead along with his bodyguard, a security official told AFP. He said 36 other people were wounded, with nine taken to hospital.
Two of the wounded were in critical condition.
"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 village east Beirut," the official said. "He was involved in sensitive probes and this is a major loss for us." Many of the bombings over the past three years have been blamed by Lebanon's Western-backed parliamentary majority on neighboring Syria, a charge denied by Damascus.
General Ashraf Rifi, head of the ISF, who was at the site of the blast, said the car bomb was yet another attempt at destabilizing the country as it grapples with its worst political crisis since the end of the 1975-1990 civil war.
"This is a message to the Internal Security Forces following the message sent to the army in December when General Francois el-Hajj was killed in a car bomb," Rifi told reporters. "This will not deter us from our mission to protect the country and ensure security." Friday's explosion took place shortly after 10 am (0800 GMT) in an area of office buildings along a busy highway leading out of Beirut.
Flames engulfed cars, trapping several people as firefighters battled to extinguish the fires and security forces cordoned off the area. Officials had earlier put the death toll at 10.
Thick black smoke curled into the sky as ambulances rushed to the scene, sirens blaring.
Local residents and office workers, some screaming and others suffering from shock, could be seen running amongst the blazing vehicles searching for friends and loved ones.
"It was an apocalyptic vision," said Ghandour Mashlab, a real estate agent who was at the site of the explosion.
An AFP photographer at the scene saw two bodies, one of which had been blown onto a nearby bridge by the force of the blast. The other corpse was charred, trapped inside a car, one of four totally destroyed in the attack.
The security official estimated that the bomb, which blasted a five metre (16 foot) wide crater into the road, consisted of at least 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of TNT. http://www.dailystar.com.lb
A senior official from the anti-Syrian majority in Lebanon pointed the finger at Damascus.
"This bombing is proof that the mukhabarat (intelligence) have infiltrated Lebanese security services,' the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.
"There is no other specialist than Eid in the region who was as competent when it came to investigating the series of bombings that have shaken Lebanon in recent years," he added.
Syria condemned the killing and blamed "Lebanon's enemies".
France also denounced the attack and urged the international community to intervene to stop the cycle of assassinations of recent years.
The US embassy in Beirut condemned the bombing, terming it another attempt to destabilise the country.
Some 500 people from the northern Lebanese village from which Eid came briefly blocked the highway leading from the city of Tripoli to Syria to protest at his death.
"We want all the politicians to take responsibility for his killing," angrily said Wissam Eid, a cousin of the victim.
Friday's attack came as Lebanon is grappling with its worst political crisis since the end of the 1975-1990 civil war.
The country has been without a president since pro-Syrian head of state Emile Lahoud stepped down on November 23 with no elected successor because of a standoff between the Western-backed majority and the Hezbollah-led opposition.
Lebanon has also been the scene of numerous bomb attacks in the past three years, targeting mainly anti-Syrian personalities and drawing accusations of Syrian involvement. Damascus has vehemently denied any role.
The most recent bombing until today targeted a vehicle from the US embassy on January 15.
In February 2005, five-times prime minister Rafiq Hariri was killed by a huge bomb on the Beirut seafront. The international and domestic backlash against his killing resulted in Syria withdrawing its forces from its tiny neighbour after nearly 30 years.
According to a former member of a UN commission probing Hariri's murder, Eid had given the commission important information about that killing.-AFP
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