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Car bomb kills politician, 5 others in Lebanon

By The Associated Press

This article was published December 27, 2013 at 8:04 a.m.

lebanese-army-investigators-in-white-coveralls-stand-next-to-a-blast-crater-at-the-scene-of-an-explosion-in-beirut-lebanon-friday-dec-27-2013-a-powerful-car-bomb-tore-through-a-business-district-in-the-center-of-the-lebanese-capital-friday-killing-mohammed-chatah-a-prominent-pro-western-politician-and-at-least-five-other-people

Lebanese army investigators in white coveralls stand next to a blast crater at the scene of an explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, Dec. 27, 2013. A powerful car bomb tore through a business district in the center of the Lebanese capital Friday, killing Mohammed Chatah, a prominent pro-Western politician and at least five other people.

BEIRUT — A powerful car bomb tore through a business district in the center of the Lebanese capital Friday, killing a prominent pro-Western politician and at least five other people.

The blast, which wounded more than 70 others, set cars ablaze, shredded trees and shattered windows in a main street of the posh downtown Beirut area of five-star hotels, luxury high-rises and high-end boutiques. It sent a pall of thick black smoke above the nearby government headquarters and the seafront.

The bomb targeted the car of Mohammed Chatah, a former finance minister and a senior aide to former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, security officials said. Chatah, his driver and four others were killed, the National News Agency said.

Hariri, a Sunni politician, heads the main, Western-backed coalition in Lebanon, which is engaged in bitter feuding with the militant Shiite Hezbollah group, a top ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The bombing recalled a string of assassinations of members of the anti-Syrian Hariri camp between 2004 and 2008, the biggest of which was the suicide bombing in 2005 in downtown Beirut — not far from the site of Friday's blast — that killed Hariri's father, Rafik, also a former prime minister. Hariri's allies accused Syria of being behind the killings, a claim Damascus denied.

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