Car bomb in Beirut kills 6, including top police investigator

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Lebanese officials say a car bomb blast in a Christian suburb of the capital Beirut has killed at least six people, including a top security official. The bombing has been criticised by the US Embassy in Lebanon.

Red Cross ambulances evacuated at least a dozen casualties, after a powerful explosion tore through rows of parked cars, near a major highway overpass, targeting a top Lebanese police investigator.

Firefighters worked feverishly to douse the blazing wreckage of twisted automobiles, as thick plumes of acrid black smoke choked the air.

Lebanese security officials say top police investigator Wissam Eid, the apparent target of the blast, died immediately.

Eid had reportedly just finished meeting with members of the UN Tribunal investigating the explosion death of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq al Hariri in February 2005.

The head of Lebanon's Internal Security Forces, the country's national police force, Ashraf Rifi says that the perpetrator's of the explosion intended today's explosion to be a message to his forces. He says that Eid was a technological expert and engineer, and that he was involved in investigating all recent terrorist bombings.

Rifi also stressed that the explosion was the result of a car-bomb, repeating that it was intended as a "message to Lebanon's police and investigating community."

Charles Ayoub, the Editor of Lebanon's Ad Diyar newspaper told al Arabiya television that at least 30 to 40 kilos of a TNT were used in the bombing.

Lebanese investigators, using sniffer dogs, combed through the rubble of the explosion, looking for clues, but sources say that water used to douse the blaze was making the search extremely difficult.

Over 30 major explosions have hit Lebanon since 2005, killing at least ten top politicians, civil servants, army officers, and journalists. Most of the victims were, in some way, opponents of Syria.

Several members of parliament from the anti-Syrian March 14 government coalition quickly accused Syria of today's killing. Syria has denied any role in any of the deaths.