Shia Muslims Protest Over Mosque Blast

Associated Press

Hundreds of Shia Muslims chanting "Death to Israel!" demonstrated here Tuesday to protest an explosion in a mosque in Israeli-occupied southern Lebanon on Monday that left 12 people dead and 34 injured by the latest U.N. count.

In occupied southern Lebanon, Israeli forces raided another Shia village at daybreak, searched houses for weapons and rounded up about 80 men for questioning at the village school, security sources said.

The raiding force of 25 soldiers in a tank and two armored personnel carriers fired in the air as it entered Salaa in a U.N.-policed area nine miles east of the port of Tyre at 6 a.m., the sources said. They spoke on condition of anonymity.

No Casualties Reported

No casualties were reported from the latest sweep in Israel's two-week crackdown on Shia guerrillas.

In mostly Muslim West Beirut schools, shops, banks and other businesses hurriedly closed as fist-shaking Shias paraded through the streets chanting, "With blood we shall liberate the south!"

Bursts of Gunfire

Occasional bursts of gunfire rang out from the demonstrators, prompting police to close several major crossings between the city's Muslim and Christian sectors as a precaution.

The demonstrations were organized by the largest Shia militia, Amal, and the pro-Iranian extremist group Hezbollah, or Party of God, to protest Monday's explosion--apparently from a bomb--in the mosque at Maarake.

Timor Goksel, spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon, said the final casualty count of the blast stood at 12 dead and 34 injured.

The bodies of the dead, including those of two senior Amal guerrilla leaders, were kept overnight at another mosque in the village, he said.

In a letter to the U.N. Secretariat, Lebanon officially held Israel responsible for the mosque blast despite Israel's denial of any involvement, state-run Beirut radio reported.

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