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Lebanon Observes Day of National Mourning for Eido

Lebanon observes a Day of National Mourning Thursday as preparations for the funeral of MP Walid Eido, an outspoken critic of Syria, were underway a day after he was assassinated by a massive car bomb that also killed his elder son and eight other people.
Eleven other people were wounded in the 5:40 p.m. blast near the Sporting Club swimming center in Beirut's seaside Manara district, where Eido and his oldest son, Khaled, were swimming.

They had just left the facility when the bomb went off, hurling Eido and Khaled into the Nejmeh Sporting Club some 20 meters from the explosion site.

The fatalities included two Eido bodyguards, two coaches from Nejmeh that has become the most fan-supported Football club in Lebanon, and four other passers-by.

Local media said the car was rigged with 80 kilograms of explosives and detonated by remote control.

Prime Minister Fouad Saniora, who declared Thursday a Day of National Mourning for Eido, called for an extraordinary meeting of Arab foreign ministers to discuss Eido's murder.

Businesses, banks as well as public and private schools and universities across Lebanon were closed Thursday to observe this day of mourning.

Eido's body will be taken from hospital to his house in Verdun before the noon prayers at Khajikji mosque and burial at Martyrs Cemetery in Beirut.

Security measures, already drastic due to a wave of deadly bombings in the last two years, have been further boosted in Beirut. Yellow ribbons were tied to light poles and trees along major Ras Beirut thoroughfares to prevent cars from parking on both sides of the streets.

The 65-year-old judge and Beirut MP was a member of the Future Movement of MP Saad Hariri, whose father and former Premier Rafik Hariri was assassinated in a similar seafront blast more than two years ago.

The majority March 14 coalition accused Syria of involvement in Eido's killing.

"Legislator Eido's martyrdom is a message from the Syrian regime," a statement by March 14 said.

"The terrorism of the Syrian regime defies the tribunal: Walid Eido a martyr," read on Thursday the front-page headline of the al-Mustaqbal newspaper owned by the Hariri family.

Lebanon's ruling coalition has accused Syria of seeking to eliminate members of the parliamentary majority, which has now been left only with a six-seat majority in the 128-member house after a string of assassinations.

beirut 14-06-2007
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