Lebanon Christians Fear Civil War As Anti-Syrian Legislator Is Assassinated

Thursday, June 14, 2007

By BosNewsLife News Center

BEIRUT, LEBANON (BosNewsLife) -- Lebanese Christians, already shaken by several bombings, faced the prospect of civil war Wednesday, June 13, as officials confirmed that a key anti-Syrian legislator and nine others were killed in an explosion in Beirut, apparently from a bomb-rigged car.

Wednesday's blast that rocked the Lebanese capital's seafront killed Walid Eido, 65, the seventh opponent of Damascus to die in two years of violence in the increasingly volatile nation.

Eido's 35-year-old son, two bodyguards and six others were also killed in the explosion, security officials told reporters on condition of anonymity. Eleven others were wounded, news reports said.

The slain parliament member was an ally of Saad Hariri, leader of the parliamentary majority and the son of assassinated former prime minister Rafik Hariri. Syria has been accused of involvement in the attacks after it was forced to withdraw its troops in 2005, ending 29 years of military presence in Lebanon. Syrian officials have denied the charges.


Wednesday's attack came just says after a bomb went off near a Christian town north of Beirut, killing at least one man and wounding three others, BosNewsLife monitored. The blast occurred last week, June 7, in an industrial area in the town of Zouk Mousbeh, a bout 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Beirut and near the town of Jounieh in the Christian heartland.

An explosion also rocked a Christian neighborhood in Beirut, May 20, across the street from a busy shopping mall, killing a 63-year-old woman and injuring about a dozen other people. The violence has added to tensions in Lebanon, where the army has been battling Islamist militants at a Palestinian refugee camp in the north for more than three weeks.

Two Lebanese soldiers were killed in fresh fighting at the Nahr al-Bared camp on Wednesday, June 13, Reuters news agency quoted security sources as saying. Christian officials said the blasts seem to target especially Christians and their allies.


Naji Daoud, the Lebanon Country Director of SAT-7, a Christian satellite network, told broadcaster Mission Network News that the explosions have impacted staff members.

Recently, "a bomb went off just one street away from a staff member's home, injuring ten people in a shopping area," Daoud said. "Our employee was driving home at the time, but fortunately she didn't drive down the street where the bomb detonated. It was a loud explosion, and we all heard it. When she got home, her parents and sister were in tears, but fortunately they were not injured."

Churches have held prayer vigils amid fears of renewed civil war. Former president Ameen Gemayel, also the leader of the Christian-dominated Phalange Party, reportedly said that Lebanese Christians forces would retaliate against the rise of "militant Islam" in the country.

Lebanon still bears deep scars from the civil war. More than 100,000 people were killed, and another 100,000 handicapped by injuries during the 1975-1990 Lebanese Civil war. Nearly a million people, representing one-fifth of the pre-war population, were displaced from their homes. (With BosNewsLife's Stefan J. Bos and BosNewsLife Monitoring).

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