Wednesday, August 13, 2008
TRIPOLI, Lebanon - Lebanese security officials say the toll from the morning rush hour bombing of a bus carrying civilians and members of the military in the northern city of Tripoli has now risen to 18 killed and 40 wounded.
The officials say the dead included 10 off-duty soldiers. The blast occurred Wednesday morning when a roadside bomb went off on a busy main street of Tripoli as a public bus drove by.
It raised suspicions that al-Qaida-inspired Islamic militants may have sought revenge on the military for last year's fatal clashes.
But local media also link the bombing to tensions ahead of a visit later Wednesday by Lebanese president to Syria to patch up stormy relations between the neighbors. - AP
It appears too early to get a clear picture of who was behind the Tripoli bus bombing. The city and several surrounding villages have recently been embroiled in sectarian clashes between Sunnis and Alawites. But it is unlikely that either group would have carried out such a significant attack, which has the hallmarks of a typical Islamist operation.
Nahr el-Bared was the centre of a major confrontation between the Islamist movement, Fatah al-Islam, and the Lebanese Army last year. The bus today was carrying a number of soldiers, which suggests that they were the target. The main suspect that would deliberately launch a major attack on the scale of today's bus bombings is Fatah al-Islam.
The attack is also evidence of Lebanon's fragile internal security. Skirmishes between rival tribes and terrorist bombings are happening too frequently in Lebanon. Criticism has to be levelled at the government's (which now includes Loyalists and Opposition) incompetency to improve the security situation in the country.
Corruption is costing Lebanese lives.
Posted by Antoun at 6:36 PM