Fourth Lebanon bomb rocks shopping mall

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Saturday, April 2, 2005

Flag of Lebanon.

Another bomb has exploded late Friday in a shopping center in the Lebanese Christian village of Broummana east of Beirut. Nobody was killed in the blast, but twelve people have been wounded, though not seriously, reports say. Lebanese television pictures showed extensive damage to the area. The explosion is the fourth targeting Lebanon's mainly anti-Syrian Christian population in as many days. The last, on March 27, killed two people and wounded five others.

The explosion happened at about 9:45pm local time, at the 'Rizk Plaza' shopping mall. It is understood from local media that a bomb was placed in the underground parking area below the complex, although there has been no official confirmation from security services. Sources on the ground say that the actual commercial center occupied the ground floor, with upper stories occupied by inhabited apartments.

Located in the Metn range of mountains east of Beirut, Broummana is about half-hour's drive from the capital and is popular with tourists, particularly those from the Gulf states.

Earlier, the pro-Syrian Prime Minister Omar Karami had announced that he would not step down as he had previously announced before. He will instead attempt to form a unity government until the country's elections, due in May. The anti-Syrian opposition had refused to join his government and have instead demanded his resignation.

Lebanon has seen significant political unrest since the assassination of its former Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri, and the subsequent pullback of Syrian forces stationed in the country.