Tuesday, March 29, 2011

ASIA: LEBANON: TERRORIST ATTACK AGAINST CHURCH

ASIA NEWS REPORT: The blast occurred overnight on Saturday against Our Lady Syro-Orthodox Church in Zahle, in the Bekaa Valley. A few days ago, a group of Estonian cyclists was abducted in the same area. “It is the beginning of a new series of attacks,” says Amin Gemayel.

Beirut (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A terrorist attack was carried out against the Syro-Orthodox Church of Our Lady of Zahle overnight on Saturday. Just after 4 am, a 2-kg device with TNT, nails and pieces of metal, exploded in front of the church’s main entrance, devastating the interior as well as parked cars and nearby houses. A man, Assad Bechara, was wounded when some pieces of glass struck his legs. Benedict XVI was probably referring to this and similar episodes yesterday, during the Angelus, when he said, “Finally, my thoughts turn to the authorities and citizens of the Middle East, where in recent days there have been several incidents of violence, so that the path of dialogue and reconciliation be privileged in the search for a just and brotherly coexistence.”

The attack did not discourage the faithful however, who took part in the Sunday morning Mass celebrated by Mgr Boulos Safar, the Syro-Orthodox bishop of Zahle, on the damaged parvis of the church.

The Minister of Culture, Salim Wardy, some members of the National Assembly, the local security chief in the Bekaa as well as the president of the Syriac League in Lebanon took part in the function.

In his homily, Mgr Safar said, “This attack is a message to undermine security in Lebanon”, but the “Church will not close its doors, whatever the consequences.”

Many take the abduction of a group of Estonian cyclists near Zahle a few days ago and this attack as a sign that terrorist groups are back in action.

Outgoing Minister Elie Marouni said it was a message, whilst Amin Gemayel, historic leader of the Phalange, said he feared the Zahle bomb was just the beginning of a new series of attacks.


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