Car Bomb Kills 10, Injures 50 in Christian Enclave of Bekaa

From Times Wire Services

A car bomb exploded today in the marketplace of a Christian town in the Syrian-controlled Bekaa Valley, and a Christian radio station reported 10 people killed and 50 wounded.

Police in the town of Zahle said at least three buildings and dozens of cars and trucks were badly damaged by the blast and a fire in a nearby gasoline storage tank.

Zahle, whose 100,000 inhabitants are predominantly Greek Catholic, was shelled sporadically by Muslim militias for several weeks until the Syrians arranged for the withdrawal of the local Christian militia, the Lebanese Forces, last week.


The town, on the edge of the Bekaa, is the only Christian enclave in the predominantly Muslim area.

It was not known how many people were in the vegetable market when it was rocked by the car bomb, Lebanon’s sixth since Aug. 14. The earlier car bombs in Muslim and Christian neighborhoods of Lebanese cities killed 140 people and wounded more that 250, according to police.

In another development, Israel said its jets attacked a Palestinian guerrilla base in central Lebanon today. The military command said the target was a key post of the Palestinian Arab Revolutionary Committee, which the command described as a radical, Libyan-backed leftist group.

The command said the base is at Qabb Elias in central Lebanon, about six miles southwest of Zahle. The raid was not believed related to the earlier car bombing in Zahle.

The Israeli announcement made no mention of targets destroyed, but said the mission was successful and all Israeli planes returned to base safely.

On Tuesday two Israeli soldiers were stabbed in the occupied West Bank town of Hebron by unidentified Palestinian assailants. One soldier died of his wounds. (Story, Page 13.)

In Beirut, at least 11 people were wounded in new gun battles between Palestinian fighters and Shia Muslim militiamen, who fought with mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns around the sprawling Bourj Barajneh refugee camp. The battles came only hours after at least five people were killed and 20 wounded around the camp Tuesday night.