The government and the opposition united in mourning, while schools and businesses closed Friday as Lebanese people and the military staged a momentous farewell to a top general slain in a car bombing two days ago.
In pouring rain, the casket of Maj. Gen. Francois Hajj was taken from the military hospital to his house in suburban Baabda, minutes away from where a car bomb incinerated his vehicle Wednesday, killing him and his driver.
An army honor guard played somber music as the flag-draped coffin was brought to the Maronite Catholic basilica in the Christian mountain heartland north of Beirut for an official service. The casket was to be later driven halfway across the country for burial in Hajj's southern hometown of Rmeish, near the border with Israel.
Church bells tolled and hundreds of grieving Lebanese lined up along the procession route, with roads adorned with the Lebanese red-and-white flag with the green Cedar tree. An elderly woman threw rose petals as the convoy drove through the port city of Jounieh.
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