Anti-Syrian officer hurt in Lebanon blast

4 others killed; Lt.-Col. Shehade involved in arrests of 4 pro-Syrian Lebanese generals.

Lebanon bomb 298.88 (photo credit: Channel 10)
Lebanon bomb 298.88
(photo credit: Channel 10)
A remote-controlled bomb wounded a Lebanese police officer and killed four bodyguards Tuesday in southern Lebanon in an apparent assassination attempt, security officials said. Lt. Col. Samir Shehade, who was involved in the investigation into the slaying of a former Lebanese prime minister, was moderately injured in the explosion, which went off as his car drove by the village of Rmaile, near the southern port city of Sidon. He was taken to the Hammoud hospital in Sidon, and hospital officials said his condition was stable. The roadside bomb was detonated by remote control as Shehade's two-vehicle police convoy traveled on a highway between two bridges, said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press. One of his bodyguards, Chief Sgt. Wissam Harb, was killed. Shehade's convoy was riddled with shrapnel, witnesses said. Police sealed off the area and began an investigation. Shehade was involved in the arrest in August last year of four pro-Syrian Lebanese generals in Lebanon. The four were arrested on suspicion of involvement in the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The Tuesday explosion came 10 days before UN chief investigator Serge Brammertz was to submit a report to the UN Security Council updating his findings on the Hariri investigation. Previous reports have implicated top Syrian and Lebanese security officials in the killing, which rocked Lebanese politics and led to the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon, ending a 29-year-military presence. Syria denies any role in the Hariri slaying or the subsequent bombings.