Anti-Syrian Lawmaker Killed in Beirut Explosion

Published June 13, 2007

| FoxNews.com

An anti-Syrian lawmaker and nine others were killed Wednesday after a car bomb exploded on Beirut's waterfront, FOX News confirmed.

State Department officials told FOX News Druze leader Walid Eido, 65, was killed in the blast. He was the seventh opponent of Damascus to be killed in two years in this conflict-ridden country. Eido was close to slain former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, security officials said.

Eido's son, two bodyguards and two others were also killed in the explosion, security officials said.

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A car was in flames and black smoke was seen rising from a narrow street off the main waterfront in Manara, which is in the Muslim sector of the capital. The Lebanese Broadcasting Corp. TV station said the explosion came from a bomb-rigged car, a method that has been used to assassinate opponents of Syria over the past two years.

The body of woman, covered in blood, was seen being pulled away from the seen by local residents. She was screaming in agony. Another man was being carried away as police sealed off the area, which is near an amusement park and a military club.

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The explosion shattered windows of apartments in the area, knocked down walls and scattered debris on top of parked cars.

The explosion occurred less than a mile from the site of a homicide truck bombing that killed Hariri and 22 others in February 2005.

The U.N. Security Council earlier this month ordered the creation of a tribunal to prosecute those responsible for Hariri's assassination despite the opposition from Syrian-backed groups in Lebanon.

The issue of the tribunal has sharply polarized the country. It is at the core of a deep political crisis between the Western-backed government led by Prime Minister Fuad Saniora and the Syrian-backed opposition led by Hezbollah. The tensions have taken a more sectarian tone in recent months,

Hariri's killing sparked huge protests against Syria, which was widely seen as culpable. Syria denied involvement but was forced to withdraw its troops from Lebanon, ending a 29-year presence.

Before Eido, the last anti-Syrian figure to be killed was 34-year-old Pierre Gemayel, the industry minister, who was killed by assassins' bullets. in November.

A series of other explosions have hit Lebanon over the past three weeks, killing at least two people. Lebanese troops also are battling Islamic militants in a Palestinian refugee camp in the northern part of the country.

Hariri's Future bloc, dominated by moderate Sunnis, has come out strongly in support of the Lebanese army in their fight against Fatah Islam.

It also comes amid after tensions between Sunnis and Shiites in Beirut in recent months that has killed 11 people.

Eido was one of the vocal opponents of Hezbollah-led protests and sit-ins in downtown Beirut outside the prime minister's office since Dec. 1 in a campaign to force Saniora to step down. He has called the encampment in downtown Beirut by the opposition as "occupation."

Anti-Syrian factions have accused Syria of the bombings.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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