SIDON, Lebanon – An Egyptian man with purported links to Al Qaeda was killed Saturday in a bomb explosion at Lebanon's largest Palestinian refugee camp, Palestinian and Lebanese officials said.
Farouk al-Masri, an Islamic activist and member of a small extremist Palestinian group, died instantly when the bomb placed in a car detonated outside a small restaurant he owns in the Ein el-Hilweh camp, located on the outskirts of the southern port city of Sidon.
Two Palestinian bystanders were wounded and several houses damaged, the officials said.
The bomb went off at 5 a.m. as al-Masri emerged from the Al-Nour mosque, where he prayed each morning, and crossed the street toward his restaurant, the officials said on condition of anonymity.
Palestinian officials said al-Masri belonged to a small Palestinian extremist group called the "Islamic Jihadi Movement" and that he was among Islamic guerrillas who fought Russian troops in Afghanistan in the 1980s.
Lebanese security officials confirmed the incident, saying only that al-Masri, who was in his early forties, was close to Usama bin Laden's Al Qaeda network.
The incident was the most serious in a recent series of a bombings and killings at the notoriously lawless Ein el-Hilweh camp, which is home to some 75,000 Palestinians.
The camp is run by rival armed Palestinian groups with Lebanese soldiers manning checkpoints outside the camp. It is believed to shelter numerous Islamic militants wanted by Lebanese authorities.