mardi, février 13, 2007


24 hours before commemorating Hariri's killing, a bomb has been explosed.
Bomb blasts tore through two buses in Lebanon on Tuesday, killing three people as the deeply divided nation prepared to commemorate the murder of ex-premier Rafiq Hariri two years ago.
The bombings in a mainly Christian area northeast of Beirut were the latest in a spate of attacks that have been blamed on Lebanon's former powerbroker Syria and came at a time of high political tensions in Lebanon.
"This is another terrorist attempt to exert control over Lebanon with blood and repression," charged Minister of Social Affairs Nayla Moawad, a member of the anti-Syrian parliamentary majority.
The state news agency said the first explosion took place at 9:30 am (0730 GMT) in a minibus full of passengers and just seven minutes later another minibus was blown up.
"Three people were killed and 18 others were wounded," said a police spokesman, identifying the dead as an Egyptian national as well as a Lebanese man and a woman.
Many other vehicles were also damaged in the twin blasts in the village of Ain Alak that lies in the shadow of the snow-capped Mount Lebanon, a largely Christian area in multi-confessional Lebanon.
"Initial reports show that explosive charges were placed inside the buses," the police spokesman added.
Earlier reports had said as many as 12 people were killed in what Lebanese President Emile Lahoud described as a "massacre."
"It is a clear attempt to foil all internal, regional and international efforts to achieve Lebanese national unity," the Damascus-backed leader said, calling on all Lebanese to "stand united" in the face of the attack.
The bombings are likely to exacerbate tensions in a country where the Syrian- and Iranian-backed Shiite Muslim Hezbollah movement is working to bring down the Western-backed government.
It comes on the eve of ceremonies in Beirut to mark the second anniversary of the killing of billionaire five-time prime minister Hariri, the subject of a UN probe that has pointed the finger of blame at Syria.
His murder in a massive Beirut truck bombing on February 14, 2005, sent shockwaves through the nation and was followed by a series of attacks against other prominent anti-Syrian politicians and journalists.
Ain Alak lies near the hometown of former Christian president Amin Gemayel in Bikfaya.
His son Pierre, an anti-Syrian minister, was gunned down in a Beirut suburb on on November 21, the most recent attack against a Damascus critic.
"All of Lebanon is a target, and we can only confront it with unity," MP Ibrahim Kanaan, an aide to Christian opposition leader Michel Aoun, told reporters at the scene.
"We call on the authorities to adopt measures which prevent such breaches of security in Lebanon."
The Syrian-backed opposition is still holding an open-ended protest in Beirut aimed at forcing out the government of Prime Minister Fuad Siniora.
Lebanon's feuding factions are headed for a standoff Wednesday after government supporters announced plans to mark Hariri's death in the same Beirut square where the opposition has been staging its sit-in for more than two months.
The anniversary of Hariri's assassination also falls six months to the day since a UN-brokered ceasefire brought an end to a blistering war between Israel and Hezbollah.
The 34-day conflict, which ended on August 14, left more than 1,200 people in Lebanon dead and around 160 Israelis and devastated much of south Lebanon.
Six ministers from Hezbollah and its pro-Syrian allies quit the government in November largely over the cabinet's endorsement of a UN tribunal to try suspects in the Hariri bombing.
Seven people were killed last month in fighting between pro- and anti-government demonstrators after the Hezbollah-led oppposition called for a one-day protest strike.
Hariri's killing triggered massive international pressure on Syria, which in April 2005 pulled its troops out of Lebanon after a 29-year military presence.