Beirut Car Bomb Kills Prominent Politician


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The nation of Lebanon is still reeling from the latest in a series of politically-motivated terrorist bombings. Early Friday a car bomb exploded in Beirut's commercial and banking district. About 132 pounds of explosives were believed to have been detonated at the scene. In the aftermath, 71 people were reportedly injured and 5 were killed. Mohammad Chatah, 62, was determined to be among the deceased.

Chatah was a prominent Sunni politician and known for his unabashed criticism of Hezbollah and Syria's Bashar al-Assad. He was reportedly headed to a meeting of the March 14th coalition held at the mansion of ex-premier Saad Hariri. Hariri's own father, Rafiq Hariri, was the victim of a terrorist bombing, having died mere blocks away from Friday's chaotic scene.

Members of the March 14th coalition have implied that enemies in Damascus and the organization Hezbollah are responsible for the bombing: "...The criminal is the same, he who is thirsty for the blood of Syrians... he and his Lebanese allies".

Saad Hariri also laid cryptic blame at doorstep of March 14th coalition enemies, saying the bombing was the fault of, "...those who are hiding from international justice and who have spread the regional fire to the (Lebanese) nation... and who killed Rafiq Hariri"."

Despite what Chatah's surviving allies believe, the organization's enemies have thus far refused to admit to any possible role in the bombing. A statement from Hezbollah called the bombing a threat to national unity. Syrian leaders denied the, "wrong and arbitrary accusations." So far, no one has come forward to take credit for the car bombing.

The violence is symbolic of an ongoing power struggle in the region. Lebanese citizens are becoming increasingly divided over the conflict in neighboring Syria. Some fear it might not be long before Lebanon is thrown back into a level of violence echoing the civil war of decades past.

Image via Associated Press Youtube