Powerful Bomb Shakes Lebanese Capital
¶ Lebanese Red Cross officials reported five dead and 15 injured in the blast. The Associated Press, citing security officials, said that Mohammed B. Chattah, a former Lebanese government minister and ambassador to the United States, was among the victims and possibly the target.
¶ LBC, a Lebanese television channel, also reported that the bomb targeted Mr. Chattah, a senior member of the Future bloc, the mainly Sunni party headed by Saad Hariri, the son of the former prime minister Rafik Hariri, who was killed in a 2005 bombing in Beirut. Future is seen as supportive of the Syrian insurgency and close to Saudi Arabia, one of the insurgents’ main international backers. Lebanon is deeply divided over the civil war in neighboring Syria, with the Shiite militia and political party Hezbollah supporting the Syrian government.
¶ Mr. Chattah, in a Twitter message Friday morning, was critical of Hezbollah, saying it was seeking to gain similar powers in Lebanon to those that Syria had during its occupation of parts of the country from 1976 to 2005.