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URGENT Car Bombings in Lebanon Kill 13

July 15, 1987

TRIPOLI, Lebanon (AP) _ A car bomb exploded today outside a busy supermarket in this northern Lebanese city and police said at least 12 people were killed and 30 wounded.

Another car bomb exploded a half-hour later in eastern Lebanon’s ancient city of Baalbek, killing a woman and injuring five other people.

Most of the victims of the Tripoli blast were women and children.

The initial explosion occurred at 11 a.m. (4 a.m. EDT) on Azmi street in a residential neighborhood of this Syrian-policed city. The bomb, placed inside a red Fiat, went off at the entrance to the supermarket, which occupies the first two floors of a seven-story residential building, reporters said.

The explosion, only 200 yards from a Syrian army checkpont, started a fire that gutted the supermarket and a basement warehouse full of medical supplies, reporters on the scene said.

Window glass at a maternity hospital several hundred yards away was shattered, but no casualties were reported at the hospital.

Ambulances, their sirens wailing, evacuated the casualties from the scene to several clinics and hospitals in the city, 53 miles north of Beirut, one reporter said.

The blast demolished three cars parked nearby and badly damaged 20 other vehicles on both sides of the street.

There were no casualties among the Syrian soldiers manning the nearby checkpoint.

Helmeted Syrian soldiers rushed to the scene and sealed off the area. They fired into the air to make way for ambulances and fire engines.

The second bomb, concealed in a red Mercedes Benz, exploded in Baalbek, which is 31 miles from Tripoli and also controlled by Syrian troops.

On Sunday during a rally in Tripoli during which pro-Syrian leftist and Moslem leaders called for a showdown with Lebanon’s right-wing Christians. Tripoli is a predominantly Sunni Moslem city.

Prime Minister Rashid Karami, a native of Tripoli, was assassinated June 1 by a bomb placed aboard a Lebanese army helicopter that was flying him to Beirut. Moslems and leftists have blamed his killing on the Lebanese Forces, a predominantly Christian militia, and Lebanese army officers who support the militia.

Both the army and the Christian militia have denied the charge.

Thirty-five people have been killed and 208 wounded in 10 previous car bombings in Lebanon this year. Four of the bombings occurred in Moslem west Beirut, which is controlled by a 7,500-strong Syrian force.

Syria is the main power broker in Lebanon. In addition to the force in west Beirut, it has 25,000 troops deployed in north and east Lebanon under a 1976 peacekeeping mandate from the Arab League.

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