News from Beirut October 20  1997 ...Search

Israeli jet raids Naameh

An Israeli warplane today fired missiles at a Palestinian base dug into a hill South of Beirut. The jet targeted Naameh hill, 15 kilometers south of the Lebanese capital, where the Popular front for the Liberation of Palestine- General Command is based. There were no immediate details on casualties or damage. Israeli jets fired a barrage of missiles at Naameh last Friday, inflicting no casualties but sparking fires in the area.

Hariri visits Armenia

Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri this morning headed to Armenia to sign an agreement of friendship and cooperation between the two countries. Hariri and the accompanying delegation held discussions with Armenian officials  which centered on bilateral ties between the two countries. The premier will conclude his one-day visit to Armenia this evening after talks over dinner with the Armenian president.

Arab businessmen and investors continue meetings in Beirut

For the third and last day, Arab businessmen and investors continue their meetings in the Summerland Hotel in Beirut as part of the Seventh Arab Investment conference. Participants emphasized the necessity of supporting the Mideast peace process as part of efforts to create more developed Arab markets which could attract investors from abroad. During today's fifth general session, discussions centered on the significance of creating an Arab stock market and launching Arab treasury bills. Yesterday, Arab investors and businessmen were optimistic about opportunities in Lebanon.

But some expressed concern over political stability and Lebanese officials said the country still needed to ease bureaucracy to secure more Arab and foreign investors. The government says investors benefit from liberal regulations, a skilled work-force and free zones exempt from custom duties for import of goods and equipment. But officials acknowledged that they need to tackle bureaucracy to secure more Arab and foreign investors.

Lebanese officials say it is impossible to put a precise figure on Arab and foreign investment because companies are not required to register their activities. Acting finance minister of state Fouad Sanyora said Lebanon was hoping to entice more Arab investors by putting them on an even playing ground with Lebanese investors.

Palestinian killed and brother wounded in Beirut

One Palestinian was killed and another wounded in a midday attack in the area of Tareek Al-Jdidi, west of the capital. Brothers Nasreddine and Omar Al-Banna were shot in the busy street by one or more unknown assailants with automatic weapons fitted with silencers. The attackers then fled.

Nasreddine was killed instantly and Omar was hospitalized in serious condition. Police said the attack may have been politically motivated but the victims' political affiliations were not immediately known. But judicial sources later said the two brothers were relatives of Sabri Al-Banna, or Abu-Nidal, who heads the Fatah Revolutionary Council which broke away from the Palestine Liberation Organization and opposes peace agreements with Israel. Omar had previously been Abu-Nidal's bodyguard. There was still no information on the identities of the assailants or their motives.

Israeli army worried about vulnerability of its tanks

The Israeli military is concerned about he vulnerability of its tanks after a Hizbullah rocket pierced the armor of a Merkava, its most modern tank, in Lebanon on Saturday. Military sources said the military will re-examine the way it uses tanks in Southern Lebanon and try to provide them with better protection. The anti-tank rocket pierced the armor of the Merkava II tank killing one soldier and wounding two others.

Hizbullah offers to trade Israeli remains for Lebanese prisoners

Hizbullah's secretary general Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah today offered to exchange the remains of Israeli soldiers recently killed in Lebanon for Lebanese in Israeli prisons. Nasrallah told a press conference in Tehran Hizbullah is ready to proceed with the exchange of Israeli corpses for detainees in Israeli jails. He recalled that his group had recently refused an offer by Germany to mediate such an exchange between Hizbullah and Israel adding we accept the help of a third country but not that of Germany. He said the verdict issued in April saying Iranian leaders were involved in the 1992 murder of Kurdish dissidents in Berlin had insulted Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Monitoring group meets tomorrow

The international committee monitoring group in South Lebanon will meet tomorrow to discuss a complaint filed by Lebanon. Lebanese officials today said the complaint was lodged after two civilians were wounded last Friday in the South during shelling by the Israeli military. The panes, which includes representatives of France, the United States, Lebanon, Syria, and Israel, will meet at the UN Interim Forces headquarters at Naqoura. The committee oversees the April cease-fire understanding between Israel and Hizbullah under which they agreed not to target civilians or carry out attacks from civilian areas.

Che Guevara's son in Lebanon

The legendary communist leader's son arrived at Beirut International Airport yesterday. Ernesto Guevara, 32, is in Beirut in a show of solidarity with Lebanon's fight against Israel. Guevara is in Lebanon at the invitation of the follow-up committee for Lebanese detainees in Israeli jails Mohammed Safa. During a press conference at the press syndicate today, Guevara compared the situation of Lebanon to that of Cuba saying part of Cuba is occupied by American imperialism adding he identifies with the Lebanese people sharing with them a similar experience. Ernesto Guevara earlier today visited President Elias Al-Hrawi at the presidential palace in Baabda. Discussions centered on Cuba's economic development.

Sports Review


Football tournaments crowded over the weekend in Beirut. Al-Tadamon (Tyre) lost to its rival, Nijmeh by 1-2 in Sidon. Al-Ahed won over Arriyada Wal Adab by 1-0 in Bourj Hammoud. Meanwhile, Shabab Assahel excelled over Racing (2-0) in Wat Al-Msaytbi Saturday afternoon. Yesterday in Bourj Hammoud, Homentmen won over Hikmeh by 2-0. But Homentmen lost against Ansar (2-5) on the Jamal Abdel-Nasser field in Bekaa.

Basket Ball:

Deputy Bahiia Al-Hariri opened the Housam Al-Dine Al-Hariri tournament in Sidon last Saturday. Over the weekend, Lebanon?s national basket ball team won over the team of foreign players in Lebanon (89-85). Yesterday, two games were held; the first won by Annadi Al-riyadi and the second by Attadamon Al-lobnani.

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