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Bomb Kills One in Beirut

October 3, 1999

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) _ A small bomb exploded in a church outside Beirut Sunday, killing one person just minutes after hundreds of worshippers had left a worship service, police said.

The explosion occurred Sunday morning at the Saint Georges Church in Dekwaneh, about two miles northeast of Beirut.

Many of the 1,000 worshippers who attended the Mass were still milling around outside the Maronite Catholic church when the bomb went off, police said.

Shafik Rajha, 60, the church caretaker, found a handbag behind the altar after Mass. The bomb exploded when he opened the bag, killing him instantly, police said.

The motive for the explosion was not immediately known. Army and police bomb experts rushed to the scene of the blast to search for more bombs.

In 1994, a bomb went off during Mass at the Notre Dame de la Deliverance Church in the Christian port city of Jounieh, north of Beirut, killing 11 worshippers and injuring 60 others.

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