A senior officer of the Lebanese army and his bodyguard were
killed in a car explosion near a Christian town east of Beirut on
Wednesday, security sources said.
General and head of operations Francois al-Hajj poses in this Sept.
4, 2007 file photo. A suspected car bomb in a Lebanese Christian
town east of Beirut killed Hajj and at least four other people on
Dec. 12, 2007, security sources said.
The car bomb explosion shattered Chief of Lebanese Operations
Brigadier General Francois al-Hajj's car as it drove in Baabda, the
historic capital of Mount Lebanon province, and seat of the
presidential palace, which is on another hill.
The official National News Agency said in its prior report that
four people were killed and tens of others injured in the
explosion, which occurred before 7 a.m. (GMT 0100) on
The slain officer was a leading candidate to take over as army
commander if current commander General Michel Suleiman was elected
president, local LBC TV reported.
The Lebanese Committee of the Red Cross has rushed to the scene
for sending the injured to hospital, said the report, adding that
the explosion also left more than five cars in fire.
The explosion came as Lebanon is facing its worst crisis since
the end of the 1975-1990 civil war, being locked in a political
impasse arose from a power struggle between the governing coalition
and the opposition.
secure the site of an explosion in Christian town Baabda east of
Beirut Dec. 12, 2007.
A Lebanese presidential election scheduled for Tuesday was
postponed till Dec. 17, to give rival leaders more time for
reaching a deal on electing the Army Chief Gen. Michel Suleiman as
the country's new president.
It is the eighth postponement since Sept. 25, which left the
presidency vacant since former President Emile Lahoud stepped down
on Nov. 24.
Lebanese ruling coalition and the opposition have been separated
by a wide chasm since six of the latter's ministers resigned from
Premier Fouad Seniora's government in November last year.
The forecast presidential event has caused widespread concern
among the Lebanese, fearing further disarrays and possible eruption
(Xinhua News Agency December 13, 2007)