Three dead in explosions near Beirut

Blasts come a day before 2nd anniversary of slaying of former PM Hariri.

hariri memorial 298 ap (photo credit: AP)
hariri memorial 298 ap
(photo credit: AP)
Explosions tore through two buses traveling on a highway in a Christian region northeast of Beirut killing at least three people and wounding at least 10 others, Lebanon's state-run news agency said. A security official said the blasts took place just minutes apart. A bomb exploded on the first bus, causing damage and casualties, and as people rushed to the scene, a second explosion ripped through a second bus that drove up behind it, the official said. The explosions came at a time of increased sectarian tensions in Lebanon, and one day before the second anniversary of the slaying of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. A mass rally had been planned for Wednesday in downtown Beirut to mark the second anniversary of the slaying. The 9:15 a.m. blast occurred on a road in the village of Ein Alaq, just south of the town of Bikfaya in the province of northern Metn, some 20 kilometers northeast of the Lebanese capital. Television footage showed at least one bus totally destroyed and ambulances carrying away people. Blood was pooled in several places near the bus wreckage. Troops in military uniforms and army buses were also at the scene. The explosions took place in the town of Ein Alaq near the town of Bikfaya, the ancestral home of the Gemayel family, a prominent political Christian family in Lebanon. Pierre Gemayel, a Cabinet member, was assassinated last November. The Lebanese news agency said the explosions had targeted the two buses as they were traveling on a highway near the town. The agency had few immediate details. Appeals for urgent blood donations were broadcast as ambulances rushed casualties to hospitals in the region and in Beirut. 'The Voice of Lebanon' radio station said the targeted buses were driving people to work.