Lebanese Civil War, Part II in the making? Once again, the Christian areas are being targeted. From the New Duranty Times, with thanks to all who sent this in.
BEIRUT, Lebanon – A powerful explosion rocked a shopping center and hotel in the Zalka neighborhood in northern Beirut on Monday night, injuring at least three people and causing extensive damage, security officials said.
Heavily armed Lebanese soldiers cordoned off the area, punching journalists to keep them back.
Brig. Gen. Darwish Hobeika, the Civil Defense Corps commander, told Lebanese Broadcasting that two people were slightly injured and one Civil Defense rescuer was hurt.
Zalka’s mayor, Michel Murr, told Lebanese Broadcasting that the bomb was placed in an open area between the Moussa shopping center and the Promenade Hotel, which was packed with tourists. He said no tourists were hurt.
The explosion shattered the windows of several apartment buildings and blew shutters off dozens of luxury boutiques in the neighborhood. Shattered glass and plaster filled the hotel lobby. Black smoke billowed high in the night sky, but there was no visible fire.
Aluminum siding and roofing in the shopping center buckled. The state-run National News Agency estimated the explosion was caused by 45 pounds of TNT.
Security forces were seen rounding up several suspects, including five men with their hands tied behind their backs who were taken to a military vehicle.
Zalka, on the Mediterranean coast, is a mixed residential and commercial area on a main street that leads to Lebanon’s Christian heartland. The area has cafes, restaurants and other nightspots.
The explosion was the latest in a string of bombings that have killed or wounded politicians and other prominent figures in Lebanon since the assassination in February of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, an attack that rattled Lebanon’s political and security foundations…