Six Killed in Lebanon Blast Targeting ex-Minister

At least six people died, and many more were wounded on December 27, 2013, in a blast that targeted former Lebanese Finance Minister Mohamed Chatah when a car bomb attacked his convoy in downtown Beirut. The names of the victims have been published on Blog Baladi. They are:

- Mohammed Nasser Mansour
– Saddam al-Khanshouri (Syrian)
– Kevork Takajian
– Ex-Finance Minister Mohammad Shatah
– Chatah’s bodyguard Tareq Bader
The 6th person is still unidentified.

Elias Muhanna wrote a profile of the ex-Minister on his blog Qifa Nabki, and he notes:

In the course of our discussion, he struck me as curious and flexible in his thinking, a realist uninterested in pie-in-the-sky ideologies (…) There was no unitary structure of government, to Chatah’s mind, that could respect individual equality, communal equality, and the importance of communal borders. Political confessionalism, he argued, was an inevitability in Lebanon for the time being, but it could be tamed to make the system function more efficiently and equitably.

According to Moulahazat:

there’s some kind of a posthumous finger-pointing from the victim itself. True, the tweets of Chatah (you can reach them here) targeted Syria and Hezbollah almost on a daily basis, but the last tweet’s timing remains huge. It speaks of taking power, controlling security, pressure, Hezbollah, and Syria, less than an hour before the blast. It can’t get any worse for M8.

In that context, the politician's last tweet could indeed be seen as an ominous message:

@mohamad_chatah: #Hezbollah is pressing hard to be granted similar powers in security & foreign policy matters that Syria exercised in Lebanon for 15 yrs.

Beyond political parties, the Lebanese mourned the human tragedy constantly unfolding in the country. Blogger Rita Kamel posted a photograph that was widely shared on social media as probably “The most tragic selfie of 2013“. The photograph was taken by a group of teenagers, just moments before the explosion. According to the blogger, they have been wounded but are all on their way to recovery:

All the teenagers, Mohammad El Chaar, Omar Bekdash, Rabih Youssef and Ahmad Moghrabi have been wounded; only Mohammad’s situation was critical and is now stable according to his close friends.
It could have been anyone. Aggressive dynamics continue to ruin peoples’ lives.
Prayers to Mohammad El Chaar, a 16 year old Lebanese young man whose one of the hobbies is swimming competitively. Prayers to his family and his friends who have to go through this unspeakable tragedy. Mohammad, we are all waiting for you.
Prayers to all those wounded severely and hanging on to life.
Why do “messages” have to be sealed with blood like this? When is this going to end?

Lebanon is often the scene of deadly violence and bombings. Last month, at least 23 people died when the Iranian Embassy in Beirut was attacked.

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