Bomb at wall of military barracks in Beirut exploded

A bomb placed at the wall of a military barracks in Beirut exploded early Thursday, shattering the windows of several apartments and cars, police and witnesses said. Police said no one was hurt, but one TV station and some witnesses said a soldier was lightly injured by flying glass.

The small bomb exploded at about 2 a.m. (0000GMT) on a perimeter wall of the Fakhreddine army barracks in the city's Ramlet el-Baida neighborhood, police said. Several hours earlier, a newspaper had alerted authorities after its offices received a telephoned threat about an explosion targeting a military installation.

The explosion caused cracks in the wall and shattered several windows. Ambulances and fire engines rushed to the scene while police and army units sealed off the area and began an investigation.

Sada al-Balad daily, in a report published Thursday, said it had received a telephone call late Wednesday from someone claiming to be "Al-Qaida's representative in Lebanon" warning that a bomb would explode at a military post after the expiration of a two-week deadline the group had set for the release of 13 alleged extremists belonging to the terror network.

The paper also said it had received a faxed statement from an unknown group, "the World Islamic Front," denouncing alleged arrests made by authorities, saying such policies served Israel and the United States.

The authenticity of the al-Qaida claims could not be verified. Authorities in early January arrested 13 people, three Lebanese, seven Syrians, a Saudi, a Jordanian and a Palestinian, and charged them with "establishing a gang to carry out terrorist acts, forging official and private documents and possessing unlicensed arms," reports the AP. I.L.

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