Bomb explodes at Lebanese church, no injuries

The bomb was placed at the side entrance of St Mary`s Church in Zahle.

Beirut: A bomb exploded overnight at the entrance of a church in the eastern Lebanese city of Zahle, causing no injuries, a church official said on Sunday.

The bomb, which consisted of about two kilograms of TNT, was placed at the side entrance of St Mary`s Church, a Syriac Orthodox church, Monsignor Youstinios Boulos Safar said.

The device went off at 4:15 am (0115 GMT), blowing out a side door of the church and damaging benches inside as well as the altar, Mr Safar said.

Seven cars parked nearby were also damaged. No one claimed responsibility.

`I denounce this type of attack and urge people to remain calm,` said Mr Safar, who hails from neighbouring Syria and is bishop of Zahle, a mainly Christian town about 50 kilometres from the capital Beirut. He said he planned to hold Sunday mass at the church despite the attack.

The church is located in the industrial part of Zahle, where seven Estonians were kidnapped earlier this week by armed men. Officials have launched a large manhunt but have so far been unable to locate the missing men.

Bureau Report