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World Council for the Cedars Revolution

Apr 15th
Home arrow News Content arrow Blog arrow Blog Items arrow Extremism In Lebanon arrow Timeline Aug 13 + Tripoli Bomb Blast Hours Ahead of Suleiman-Assad Summit
Timeline Aug 13 + Tripoli Bomb Blast Hours Ahead of Suleiman-Assad Summit PDF Print E-mail
Written by Naharnet, AFP   
Wednesday, 13 August 2008

 Policeman gestures as Lebanese Red Cross medics tend to casualties at the site of a bomb blast place in the port city of Tripoli in north Lebanon August 13,2008. (Omar Ibrahim/Reuters)
Policeman gestures as Lebanese Red Cross medics tend to casualties at the site of a bomb blast place in the port city of Tripoli in north Lebanon August 13,2008. (Omar Ibrahim/Reuters)

Revenge suspected as bus blast kills 18 in Lebanon




At Least 10 Killed in Tripoli Bomb Blast Hours Ahead of Suleiman-Assad Summit

A van, carrying civilians and Lebanese army troops, blew up Wednesday in the northern port city of Tripoli, killing at least 10 people, just hours before President Michel Suleiman was scheduled to head to Syria in the first such summit between the two countries in three years.

Security officials said another 24 people were injured in the bombing that went off early morning.

News reports said at least seven soldiers were among the dead.

They said the bomb was placed on a sidewalk on the Banks street commercial district of Tripoli.

The force of the blast blew the remains of some of the dead onto the roofs of nearby buildings, an AFP correspondent said.

Tripoli saw sectarian fighting last month in which 23 people were killed in battles between militants from the rival Sunni Muslim and Alawite communities in the neighborhoods of Bab al-Tebbaneh and Jabal Mohsen.

There has been tension between the two communities ever since Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war. Alawites are an offshoot of Shiite Islam and straddle the border into neighboring Syria whose President Bashar al-Assad is a follower of the faith.

The explosion came hours before Suleiman was due to hold a landmark summit with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus aimed at establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries for the first time.

It also came a day after a new national unity government formed by Prime Minister Fouad Saniora following 18 months of deadly tensions with the Hizbullah-led opposition finally won a vote of confidence in parliament.

The standoff between the two sides had pushed the country to the brink of a new civil war and was only ended by an Arab-brokered power-sharing agreement in Doha.(Naharnet-AFP)

Beirut, 13 Aug 08, 09:14


Revenge suspected as bus blast kills 18 in Lebanon

The Associated Press
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
TRIPOLI, Lebanon: A bomb ripped through a bus carrying civilians and members of the Lebanese military during Wednesday morning rush hour in the northern city of Tripoli, killing 18 people and wounding 46, security officials said.

The officials said the dead included 10 off-duty soldiers.

The bomb was planted on the side of a main street and went off as the bus passed by. The streets were filled with people heading to work, which contributed to the many casualties, the officials said.

The security officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

The blast raised suspicions that Qaeda-inspired Islamic militants may have sought revenge on the military for its assault last year on the nearby Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr el Bared, a one-time bastion of the Fatah al Islam group. The months-long battle killed hundreds and eventually drove out Fatah al Islam.

The army described the blast as a "terrorist attack targeting the army directly." Its initial casualty toll was 11 dead, including 9 soldiers. The discrepancy with the higher police figures was not explained.

Information Minister Tarek Mitri described the incident as a "big terrorist explosion" but would not speculate on who was behind it.

"The hands of the criminals have hit in Tripoli against innocent soldiers and civilians," he said in Beirut. "Once again, they want our country to be an arena for settling scores and battling for influence."

Shattered glass littered Banks Street in Tripoli's center, as soldiers and police officers cordoned off the area to keep onlookers away and to investigate.

The small public bus, which had been bringing passengers from the remote, northernmost Akkar region, home to many military members, was riddled with shrapnel. Soldiers used sniffer dogs to search nearby parked cars, as forensic experts in white uniforms, face masks and gloves sifted through the wreckage of the bus in search of evidence.

Experts determined the bomb was locally made and packed in a bag with nuts and bolts to maximize impact. The high-explosive TNT was triggered by remote control, security officials said.

Hatem Hussein, 24, an electrician, said he ran to the scene after hearing the loud explosion. "The wounded were lying on the ground, men in military uniforms," he said.

Tripoli, about 90 kilometers, or 55 miles, north of Beirut on the Mediterranean coast, is Lebanon's second-largest city and has a mostly Sunni Muslim population dominated by groups loyal to the Western-backed parliamentary majority.

Despite a relative calm elsewhere, it has in the past weeks witnessed sectarian clashes between Sunni fighters and followers of the Alawite sect, an offshoot Shiite sect, that killed and wounded dozens of people.




Live Coverage
Live Coverage   Bomb Rocks Tripoli Hours Ahead of Lebanese-Syrian Summit
 8:20pm LBCI: Presidents Suleiman and Assad agreed on establishing diplomatic relations between Lebanon and Syria.
 8:15pm Euro Parliament denounced the Tripoli explosion in a phone call with Premier Saniora.
 8:10pm LBCI: Lebanese to halt work between twelve and one in the afternoon to pay tribute to the souls of Tripoli blast martyrs.
 7:50pm Hizbullah Leader Hassan Nasrallah would make a televised speech on the second anniversary of the July war with Israel tomorrow 9:00 pm.
 7:44pm Jordan denounces Tripoli blast and reaffirms its support for the Lebanese government.
 7:20pm Tashnag Party condemned the Tripoli bomb blast and called on all factions to support the army.
 7:17pm Lebanese and Syrian delegations hold a meeting in Damascus.
 7:05pm KSA Embassy in Beirut denounced in a statement Tripoli blast and extended its condolences to the victims’ families.
 7:00pm Lebanese and Syrian presidents hold a meeting at the People's Palace in Damascus in the presence of the Lebanese and Syrian First Ladies.
 6:46pm Tripoli MPs hold a meeting at MP Mohammed Kabbara's residence in Tripoli to discuss the aftermath of the blast.
 6:10pm Defense Minister Elias el-Murr said the perpetrators of the Tripoli crime that claimed the lives of civilian and military martyrs today would be punished.
 5:40pm President Suleiman was received by Syrian President Bashar Assad at the People's Palace in Damascus.
 5:25pm Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir regreted “the renewal of blasts that targeted today a group of civilians and soldiers in Tripoli."
 5:10pm President Michel Suleiman arrived at Damascus International Airport for a two-day state visit.
4:10pm The E.U. condemned “in the strongest terms the attack that occurred this morning in Tripoli," the current French presidency of the E.U. said in a statement following the blast.
4:05pm President Nicolas Sarkozy condemned the "cowardly" attack in Tripoli, reaffirming France's support for Lebanon in the fight against terrorism.
4:00pm Hizbullah said Tripoli crime targets the military institution, which guarantees the national peace and stability of the nation.
3:55pm Lebanese Forces Leader Samir Geagea said the Tripoli crime is an organized plan to demolish the military institution and all efforts to build a strong state.
3:53pm Arab league Secretary General Amr Moussa expressed in a statement his sincere condolences to and sympathy with the families of the victims.
3:52pm The Arab League strongly condemned the "terrorist attack"that shook the Northern city of Tripoli.
3:50pm PSP Leader MP Walid Jumblat described Tripoli blast as a dangerous attack that highlights the need to give the national army full authority to collect arms from all Lebanese and non Lebanese factions.
3:35pm President Suleiman left for Syria accompanied by his advisors and Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh.
1:30pm Syria strongly condemned the “horrific criminal act” and stressed solidarity with sister Lebanon.
12:48pm FPM leader Michel Aoun said the Tripoli bombing was “the result of accumulated neglect,” adding that "we had warned against rearming in the north."
12:25pm MP Saad Hariri called on the security forces to stop the rearming of terrorist organizations in Tripoli and to curb infiltration into Tripoli.
12:22pm LBC: A bomb, targeting a vehicle belonging to a Fatah member, exploded in Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp near the southern port city of Sidon. No casualties were reported.
12:20pm The army communiqué said the bomb attack was a “terrorist act” targeted directly at the military institution and peaceful coexistence in Lebanon.
12:20pm A statement by the Lebanese army command said the bomb, which was hidden in a briefcase placed near a bus stop at Banks street, left 11 people killed, including nine soldiers, and 30 wounded – both civilians and soldiers.
12:15pm Premier Fouad Saniora said this terrorist act will not block the launch of our new government.
11:40am Speaker Nabih Berri described the explosion as a “criminal, terrorist” act targeting Lebanon and called for unity among the Lebanese.
11:26am Al-Sharq radio: Bank employee Khaled Jaddar, who had just parked his car on Banks street when the bomb exploded, said the blast went off at 7:50 am.
11:05am: Former Premier Omar Karami said Tripoli witnesses total shutdown.11:21am Mitri said the Lebanese government will assume its responsibilities and will investigate the bombing.
 11:00am VOL: The bomb was made of TNT and weighed 1500 grams.
 11:20am Information Minister Tareq Mitri from the Grand Serail: They want our country to become an arena for settling scores.
 10:40am AP, citing security officials, said the toll from the bus bombing now stands at 18 dead, 40 wounded.
 10:32am Al-Sharq radio: Lebanese troops arrested a passer-by suspected of involvement in the Tripoli bombing.
 10:29am President Michel Suleiman condemned the Tripoli bombing and stressed that both the Lebanese army and police will not succumb to terrorism.
 10:10am Lebanon's military prosecutor Jean Fahd arrives at the scene of the bombing.
 9:44am VOL: 17 people, including 10 soldiers, were killed in the explosion. Among the dead were Mohammed al-Mahmoud and Ahmed Hussein.
 9:37am anb TV: 11 killed and 40 wounded in the explosion.
 9:25am VOL: The bus driver was identified as Asaad Darwish from Jabal Akroum.
 9:24am VOL: 11 people, including 8 soldiers, were killed in the explosion.
 9:12am AFP, citing a security source: 10 people were killed and 23 wounded in the bombing.
 9:09am LBC: Nine people, including 7 soldiers, were killed and 21 wounded in the explosion.
 8:56am Future TV: Nine people, mostly soldiers, were killed in the explosion.
 8:54am LBC: The explosion formed a 30cm deep trench.
 8:52am Security sources to VOL: The number of dead rose to 6 and the wounded to 15.
 8:40am anb TV: Nine people were killed in the Tripoli explosion.
 8:38am VOL: The number of dead rose to seven and initial reports said the bomb was placed on a sidewalk.
 8:29am MP Alloush to VOL: The explosion went off in Tal Square, an area crowded with military staff at this hour of the day.
 8:25am Al Sharq Radio: Five people were killed in the Tripoli bombing.
 8:18am VOL: Preliminary reports said 4 people were killed and 10 wounded in the bomb that targeted a civilian bus.
 8:10am VOL: At least three people were killed in the explosion.
 8:07am LBC: A number of people were killed or wounded in the explosion that targeted a bus carrying civilians and military personnel.
 8:00 am An explosion went off near the Serail in the northern port city of Tripoli.


Syrian Dailies Hail Suleiman Landmark Visit to Damascus

The official Syrian newspaper Tishrin hailed the Lebanon-Syria summit and expected "past mistakes to be overcome... by establishing diplomatic relations" which it said must be based on "respect, friendship and coordination."

Syria and Lebanon have not had diplomatic ties since independence from French colonial power 60 years ago but Assad and Suleiman agreed to establish them during talks last month in Paris.

The government paper Ath-Thawra said that "Syria will listen carefully to Michel Suleiman. There will be a dialogue capable of solving all pending issues."

Suleiman is the first Lebanese president to visit Damascus since Syria pulled out its troops from Lebanon in April 2005 ending almost three decades of military domination of its "sister" nation.

The pullout came two months after the assassination in Beirut of ex-premier Rafik Hariri, for which Damascus has denied any responsibility despite accusations by Lebanese anti-Syrian groups.

Suleiman's visit aims to redefine ties between Beirut and Damascus which have been on the decline since the Hariri murder.

It comes a day after Beirut's new national unity government won a much-delayed parliamentary vote of confidence following stormy debates among rival factions on the thorny issue of weapons held by Hizbullah, which is backed by Syria and Iran.

Opposing MPs locked horns in sharp exchanges over the arsenal of Hizbullah, which insists it has the right to resist Israel.

The vote will allow the 30-member cabinet formed a month ago by Prime Minister Fouad Saniora to finally start work.

The agenda in Damascus features prickly issues such as a border demarcation, a review of longstanding accords, Lebanese detainees in Syria and the presence of radical pro-Syrian Palestinian groups in Lebanon, diplomatic sources said.(AFP-Naharnet)
Beirut, 13 Aug 08, 12:25


Last Updated ( Thursday, 14 August 2008 )
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