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Bomb Explosion in Beirut Wounds 3 After Rice's Visit

A big explosion went off in the Lebanese capital Beirut Friday evening, wounding three people, a senior security official said.

General Ashraf Rifi, the director general of internal security, was quoted by the privately-owned Future TV as saying that a bomb was detonated under a parked car in Rue Monot, a busy street with a lot of restaurants and nightclubs.

Three people were wounded in the blast and two vehicles were burnt, he added.

Earlier reports had put the casualties at one killed and several others wounded.

Lebanon has been rocked by a series of bomb attacks since a massive car bomb blast killed former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in February.

Friday's attack came just hours after US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice paid a surprise visit to the country.

Rice flew in from Israel to make the hours-long brief trip, aimed at showing her support for the new Lebanese government formed on Tuesday.

During her visit, Rice held talks with Lebanese President Emile Lahoud, prime minister-designate Fouad Seniora, speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Nabih Berri and Saad Hariri, head of the parliamentary Future Bloc.

Addressing a press conference following the talks, Rice said, "My visit to Lebanon was meant to show US support for the Lebanese as the whole world has been touched by the developments in the country."
She pledged cooperation between Washington and the Lebanese government, saying "I believe that we can support, both through international organizations and through direct support, the economic and political reforms that will be undertaken there."

(Xinhua News Agency July 23, 2005)

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At least 4 Wounded in Explosion in Beirut
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Car Bomb Blast Injures Six In Beirut
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