Car-bomb in Lebanon kills anti-Syrian politician


MIDDLE EAST:A powerful car-bomb killed anti-Syrian Lebanese politician Walid Eido and nine other people yesterday in the sixth blast to strike the Beirut area in less than four weeks, security sources said.

The bomb, concealed in a parked vehicle, detonated when Mr Eido's car was being driven close to the seafront in the Lebanese capital. One of his sons was among the dead. At least 11 people were wounded.

Mr Eido (64) belonged to the majority anti-Syrian parliamentary bloc of Saad al-Hariri, which controls the government. He had been a vocal opponent of Syrian influence in Lebanon and an ally of former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri, who was assassinated by a suicide-bomber in February 2005 on the same seafront road.

Mr Eido was killed three days after a UN Security Council resolution came into effect setting up an international tribunal to try suspects in al-Hariri's assassination.

Saad al-Hariri and his political allies say that Syria was behind the former prime minister's killing and later attacks. Damascus denies any involvement.

Mr Eido's death brings to seven the number of anti-Syrian figures killed in Lebanon since 2005.

Yesterday's bomb was more powerful than the five which exploded in the Beirut area in the past month, security sources said. Those blasts killed two people.

Mr Eido's death is likely to increase the tension between Prime Minister Fouad Siniora's western-backed government and the pro-Damascus opposition led by the Shia Muslim Hizbullah group.

Tension was already high in Lebanon, where the army has been battling Islamist militants at a Palestinian refugee camp in the north of the country for more than three weeks.

Two Lebanese soldiers were killed in fresh fighting at the Nahr al-Bared camp yesterday, security sources said. Militants attacked army posts set up on newly-seized territory. - (Reuters)