Lebanese army defuses car bomb in Bekaa valley

Published Friday, November 22, 2013

The Lebanese army defused a car bomb at dawn Friday in the eastern Bekaa Valley after giving chase to suspects, a security source said.

The car rigged with 400 kilograms of explosives was found just three days after twin suicide bombings targeting the Iranian embassy in Beirut killed 25 people, and as Lebanon celebrated its independence day.

According to a correspondent of the Lebanese National News Agency, the car bomb was set to explode in the Lebanese capital.

The army, on alert since Tuesday's attack outside the Iranian embassy, had spotted the suspect vehicle earlier, state media said.

Troops gave chase to the car and exchanged fire with the passengers but it got away, the NNA said.

The army eventually found the vehicle abandoned on a road between the villages of Makneh and Yunin with its tires burst, the news agency said.

The identity of the passengers was not immediately known nor was it clear where they had planned to blow up the vehicle.

The incident came as Lebanon marked the 70th anniversary of its independence from French colonial rule.

The 32-month conflict in neighboring Syria has stirred tensions in Lebanon between opponents and supporters of the armed uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

On Thursday, Lebanese President Michel Sleiman warned against involvement in the Syria conflict, saying it was endangering the peace and unity of Lebanon.

"We cannot talk of independence if parties or groups ignore the state... and decide to cross the border and get involved in an armed conflict on the soil of a brother country and endanger national unity and civil peace," Sleiman said.

In October, the army defused a car bomb in Beirut’s southern suburbs, killing 23. The area was the target of several deadly bombing this year.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

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