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Bomb Hits Aley, 5 Wounded

Retrieved from Naharnet on May 23, 2007

 A bomb exploded in the mountain resort town of Aley east of Beirut Wednesday night, wounding at least five people, a senior security official said.

 "Five people were wounded in the blast which occurred on the main roundabout of Aley, on the main shopping street" of the predominantly Druze town, he told Agence France Presse.

 Aley is a stronghold of Druze leader Walid Jumblat, a main figure in the anti-Syrian parliamentary majority.

 "The explosive charge was placed in a small suitcase near the entrance of a residential building," said the security official.

 The blast which went off at around 9:00 pm damaged several buildings and shops along the street, which was immediately cordoned off by police.

 It sheared off walls of apartments, tore down electrical cables and wrecked parked vehicles. It also blew off shutters on the many shops in the street.

 Aley is popular with Arab tourists from the Gulf who usually begin arriving in June to spend the summer in Lebanon.

 Two bombs have already shaken Beirut since fighting broke out on Sunday between Lebanese troops and Fatah al-Islam militants at the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared in northern Lebanon.

 The first struck Beirut's Christian district of Ashrafiyeh Sunday night, killing one woman. The second went off Monday in Verdun, a predominately Sunni quarter of the capital, and wounded 10 people.

 Jumblat pointed the finger at Syria, which he said was trying to block a U.N. resolution to set up an international tribunal to try suspects in the 2005 killing of former Premier Rafik Hariri.

 "These bombs are planted because the Security Council is about to intervene and adopt the tribunal," he told CNN.

 "This is why the Syrian regime is trying to terrorize us and say 'if you adopt the resolution, this is an example of what will happen in Lebanon'."

 Telecommunications Minister Marwan Hamadeh, who survived an assassination attempt in Beirut on October 2004, was also quick to accuse Damascus.

 "After the failure of the discord which they (Syrians) wanted to stir through Nahr al-Bared, the explosions have resumed," he told the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya television station.

 "This is an attempt to sow discord, to terrorize the Lebanese in order to ruin the upcoming tourism season," Hamadeh said.(AFP-AP-Naharnet)