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Deadly Blasts Hit Two Buses in Lebanon

RENÉE MONTAGNE, host:

In the hills above Beirut, bombs ripped through two buses filled with workers. The bombings, near a largely Christian village, killed at least three people and came on the eve of the second anniversary of the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from the scene.

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PETER KENYON: Until this morning, people had been hopeful that the anniversary of Rafik Al-Hariri's killing might pass without serious incident. But the twisted wreckage of two passenger buses in the mountains northeast of Beirut put an end to those hopes. There was no claim of responsibility, but the timing of the explosions and the location in a heavily Christian area suggested that the bombers were hoping to provoke sectarian bloodshed as opposition forces, including Hezbollah, try to topple the current anti-Syrian government in Beirut.

Just up the hill from here is the hometown of former President Amine Gemayel, whose son Pierre was murdered two months ago. But in the past two years this is the first attack that deliberately target ordinary Lebanese.

Eye witness Tanya Huri(ph) had difficulty describing the scene she saw - badly burned victims, body parts, and piercing screams for help. She said people here just want to live their lives and they want their politicians to get along. Cabinet ministers on the scene said this was a dangerous provocation, but they called on all sides to remain calm or risk another eruption of civil war, something the Lebanese are all too familiar with.

Peter Kenyon, NPR News, in the hills above Beirut.

(Soundbite of music) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.