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Four dead as blast hits U.S. Embassy car

BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNN) — An explosion ripped through a U.S. Embassy vehicle Tuesday as it traveled along a coastal highway north of Beirut, killing four Lebanese civilian bystanders, a U.S. State Department spokesman told CNN.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the driver of the vehicle was slightly injured and the only passenger — a foreign service national — was not hurt.

McCormack could not confirm that the vehicle was the target of the blast, or if it tripped a roadside bomb intended for a different target.

A Western diplomatic source said an American, an Iraqi and three Lebanese were among those wounded in the blast, which happened around 4:45 p.m. (9:45 a.m. ET).

Lebanese media reported about 20 people were injured in the blast, which appears to be the latest in a series of attacks against pro-Western, anti-Syrian targets in the Lebanese capital.

Most recently, an explosion in Beirut’s Christian suburb of Baabda killed Brig. Gen. Francois Al-Hajj, the head of operations for the Lebanese army, and his bodyguard on December 12.

Al-Hajj was believed to be a top candidate to take over as army commander in the event current commander Gen. Michel Suleiman was elected to replace Emile Lahoud as president.

Lebanon has been in the midst of a political crisis as pro- and anti-Syrian lawmakers in parliament are locked in a battle to elect a new president.

The nation has been without a president since November 23, when the pro-Syrian Lahoud stepped down at the end of his term.

In February 2005, the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in Beirut sparked widespread protests that led to the ousting of Syrian forces from Lebanon.
Four dead as blast hits U.S. Embassy car – found here.

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January 15, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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