No Embassy Staff Killed
Beirut, Lebanon - Two US embassy employees, a driver and one passenger were in a US-made, up-armored civilian vehicle. It happened in the predominantly Christian Dora-Karantina neighborhood, a northern suburb of Beirut. Fox says the bomb was wedged between two garbage bins and detonated as the embassy vehicle passed. Other reports claim the bomb was in a booby-trapped VW Golf. The embassy driver was slightly wounded, the passenger was unhurt.
Mathew Claiton, an American, standing near a window inside a church that was close to the blast, was wounded by glass fragments. He was ambulatory after the incident and was taken to hospital.
Three or four Lebanese were killed by the blast. Two passengers of a car following the embassy vehicle were killed. A third victim had been walking nearby. There may have been a fourth Lebanese killed. Witnesses talked about 10 or 16 injured.
The US embassy was planning a farewell party in the evening for Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman at the Phoenicia hotel. That event was canceled.
Sky News Foreign Affairs Editor Tim Marshall said the attack would have been well planned, with spotters tipping off the bomber when the vehicle left the embassy and when it approached the blast area.
Bush and Rice are visiting the Middle East right now. No one has claimed responsibility for the blast but most of these bombings are attributable to the Iran-Syria-Hizbullah axis. Last week, Hizbullah called Bush’s visit a "black day" for the region. Yesterday, Nasrallah, head of Hizbullah said he is proud to be an enemy of the United States. Hizbullah is listed by the US as a terrorist organization, and Nasrallah seems to live in hideouts and caves. Hizbullah lives mainly on Iranian funding, and is currently trying to bully Lebanon’s leaders into accepting a pro-Syrian President. A UN vehicle was bombed last week in Southern Lebanon, with no deaths. No American has been murdered in Lebanon since 2002.
Thank goodness for the armor--this was a direct hit. Nasrallah and his political hacks could benefit from a spell in Gitmo. Hizbullah used to infest the Israeli border but after their 2006 conflict with Isreal have withdrawn about 20 miles, just north of the Litani River. With a few weeks hard work, a coalition force combined with the Lebanese Army could probably root out and destroy Hiz, but I'm sure Nancy Pelosi would disapprove.