Lebanese leaders pledge to hold election despite bombing

September 20, 2007 15:40


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Lebanese leaders pledged Thursday to press ahead with a divisive election for president, to be held in Parliament in the coming days, after a car bombing assassination of one of its lawmakers. Anti-Syrian lawmakers also pointed fingers at neighboring Damascus and called on the international community for help. The powerful bomb Wednesday killed Antoine Ghanem, an anti-Syria lawmaker, and six others in a Christian neighborhood of Beirut - and threatened to derail efforts to bring the country's rival parties together to agree on a head of state ahead of time, before voting is set to begin next week. At least 67 were wounded in the explosion, which severely damaged buildings and set cars ablaze during rush hour on a busy street in the Sin el-Fil neighborhood. Schools, universities and banks across the country as well as many businesses in Christian areas of Beirut and north of the capital were closed Thursday for a day of mourning and to observe a strike called by the Phalange Party. A massive funeral was to be held Friday.

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