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Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Beirut, 13 Feb. (AKI) - Initial reports that 12 people were killed in explosions Tuesday on two separate buses in the Lebanese mountain town of Bikfaya, were later revised with the latest death toll standing at three, according to police and health officials. Bikfaya is a traditional stronghold of Lebanon's Christian Falangist groups and the hometown of the Gemayels, the country's most prominent Christian Falangist family. Pierre Gemayel, Lebanon's then Industry Minister was assassinated on 21 November, an attack which deepened the country's political crisis. His father Amin Gemayel, a former president, is a prominent anti-Syrian poltician.

Initial reporst said that Tuesday's explosions, the causes of which are not clear although bombs are believed to have been used, occured simultaneously but some witnesses said they took place 10 minutes apart.

The blast occurred a day before the second anniversary of the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik al-Hariri on 14 February 2005 that triggered a wave of anti-Syrian demonstrations. Bowing to international pressure Damascus withdrew its troops from Lebanon in April of that year and an anti-Syrian coalition, including the Falanagists, swept to power in the subsequent elections.

Pro-Syrian parties, led by Hezbollah have called on the government to resign in a campaing launched last December which has included daily picket demonstrations.
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