Militia Kills Foiled Car Bomber
BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) _ A man accused of trying to car-bomb a Shiite Moslem militia headquarters was killed by a firing squad Wednesday in front of 1,000 spectators at a tree- lined playground.
The Shiite Moslem Amal movement, which is led by Justice Minister Nabih Berri, said 22-year-old Mohieddin Saleh, a Sunni Moslem, was ″executed″ after an Amal tribunal found him guilty of attempting to blow up one of their offices last April.
It was the latest example of ″street justice″ meted out by militias whose powers far outweigh those of the Lebanese government, and it came as Moslem and Christian leaders traded accusations over two car bomb explosions that killed 57 people in Beirut in the last two days.
Men, women and children lined the playground near the Shiite cemetery of Rawdat al-Shahidain as the gunmen forced the blindfolded condemned man, his hands tied behind his back, to lie down. They then shot him seven times in the head and body.
An Amal communique said that last April 21 Saleh tried to drive a black BMW packed with 770 pounds of explosives into an Amal headquarters, but he was foiled by Amal security men who arrested him and defused the bomb.
The commuinique did not say who was behind the attempted car-bombing, but last April Amal claimed Saleh worked for an unidentified Christian militia in east Beirut.
Amal controls Beirut’a Shiite neighborhoods and frequently has killed people, execution style, it considers guilty of crimes.
The Shiite neighborhoods have not been incorporated into a security plan launched a month ago in west Beirut to end the chaotic reign of militias in the Moslem sector.
About 500 Syrian troops deployed in west Beirut July 4 to back 800 Lebanese army soldiers and policemen enforcing the plan.
Berri said in a statement Wednesday that government investigators have made progress in their investigation into Tuesday’s bombing in Moslem west Beirut, which killed 25 people and wounded 170.
He did not elaborate.
Monday’s blast, in Christian east Beirut’s Ein Rummaneh residential district, killed 32 people and wounded 140.
Various communiques from Moslem organizations blamed unspecified ″Christians organs″ allegedly linked to Isreal’s secret service for both of the latest car bombings.
The statements contended the explosions were intended to rekindle a new round of all-out civil war.
Christian spokesmen blamed the bombings on Syria’s secret service, saying it used operatives from leftist Lebanese factions as part of a campaign to oust Maronite Catholic President Amin Gemayel.
No group has claimed responsibility for either explosion, which raised fears of further retaliation attacks. Last August, three car bomb blasts within four days killed 66 people and wounded 301.
Syria, which has 25,000 peacekeeping troops in northern and eastern Lebanon, has been at odds with Gemayel since January, when the president scuttled a Syrian-brokered pact to end the 11-year-old civil war.
The pact was signed in Damascus by the three most powerful Druse, Shiite and Christian militias Dec. 28. But Gemayel complained the accord made too many concessions to Moslems.
Christians have dominated Lebanese politics for four decades.