“A bomb attack on the US embassy near here was foiled when a Lebanese man and a Palestinian were arrested as one of them tried to carry explosives into the embassy compound, the Lebanese army said.” So says AFP, with thanks to LGF.)
“The incident came just a week after the US State Department renewed a warning for US citizens to ‘consider carefully’ any travel to Lebanon, alerting them to continuing high anti-American sentiment there amid heightened tension in the Middle East. . . .
“The army did not identify either of the men, nor did it say whether they had any accomplices. It was not immediately known whether they belong to any political organization.
“Security sources said the Lebanese man, who was carrying a package containing sticks of dynamite, was nabbed by embassy security personnel and quickly turned over to the army. . . .
“Last Thursday, the State Department, updating a May 6 warning, noted that US interests had been the targets of terrorists in Lebanon in the past and that those responsible for many of the attacks remained at large.
“‘Recent events in Lebanon, such as bombings directed at US franchises and the November 2002 murder of a US citizen in Sidon, underscore the need for caution and sound personal security precautions,’ it said.
“The alert added that the perpetrators of anti-American attacks who remain at large ‘retain the ability to act.’
“It also pointed to the presence of Asbat al-Ansar, a group apparently affiliated with Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network that has targeted US Lebanese interests, in Lebanon’s Ain el-Helweh refugee camp.
“The warning added that the security situation in Lebanon was ‘sufficiently serious’ to require US diplomats and other government personnel to live and work under tough travel restrictions.
“At the end of September, 31 Lebanese and Palestinians went on trial before the military tribunal in Beirut, charged with participating in bomb attacks at three different American fast food restaurants and the attempted car-bombing of a McDonald’s restaurant in the Christian sector of the capital.
“In October, Yemeni Ibn al-Shahid was arrested in the southern Lebanese city of Sidon. Believed to be associated with Asbat al-Ansar, he was charged with being the mastermind of the attacks. The verdict in the trial is expected on Saturday.
“The current embassy complex was built after its predecessor, located on the Beirut seafront, was blown up by terrorists in 1983 during the 15-year-long Lebanese civil war. Only two months before that, 239 US marines were killed in a suicide bombing of their barracks in Beirut. They had been sent to Beirut as part of a multinational force that moved in following the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon.”