A car bomb explodes near a military bus carrying troops in Tripoli, killing at least five people and injuring 25.
Car bomb rocks Lebanese city
TRIPOLI, LEBANON // A car bomb has exploded near a military bus carrying troops on their way to work in northern Lebanon, killing at least five people and injuring 25, Lebanese security officials said. It was the second deadly attack targeting troops in northern Lebanon in less than two months. Security officials said the car packed with explosives was parked on the side of the road and was detonated by remote control as the bus drove in the Bahsas neighbourhood on the southern entrance to the northern port city of Tripoli. They said the explosives used were mixed with metal balls to maximise casualties. The blast, which tossed the car about 12 metres, occurred during the morning rush hour, according to the officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. Television footage showed soldiers sealing off the area and preventing people from approaching the blast scene. The explosion shattered windows of cars parked in the area. Police forensic experts in plainclothes searched for evidence in the bus wreckage. Pieces of flesh were strewn on the road. Tripoli has been rocked by sectarian fighting between pro-government Sunni fighters and pro-Syrian gunmen of the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, that killed or wounded dozens in the summer before a truce was reached. On Aug 13 2008, a total of 18 soldiers and civilians were killed by a roadside bomb packed with nuts and bolts near a bus carrying troops on a busy Tripoli street. It was Lebanon's deadliest bombing in more than three years. Today's explosion came two days after a massive bombing in the capital of neighbouring Syria killed 17 people and wounded 14. Syrian authorities said the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber and that the vehicle came from a neighbouring Arab country. It did not identify the country. Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan border Syria. The Syrian president, Bashar Assad, has recently warned of extremists operating in northern Lebanon and beefed up his border troops along that frontier in recent days. No group has claimed responsibility for Syria's explosion, the August bombing in Tripoli, or today's attack. Tripoli, about 90km north of Beirut on the Mediterranean coast, is a majority Sunni city and is Lebanon's second-largest. The region there is known to be a strong base for Sunni militants. * AP