Four people were injured this morning in a car bomb explosion in the Eastern Boulevard of Sidon. The wounded included an official of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Group, his wife and child. The Islamic Jihad later blamed Israel for the attack, accusing Israel's intelligence service of trying to assassinate one of its officials.
The bomb was placed in the car of Mahmud Al-Majzoub and it went off as soon as the official and his family entered the car that was parked next to Majzoub's house. The injured were immediately taken to the Hammoud Hospital for treatment. A worker in the nearby Ansari Printing Press was also hurt in the attack.
Investigations continue into the drive-by shooting of two traffic policemen in the southern city of Sidon. Nizar Areedi and Morshed Abu-Saleh were on duty in Sidon's Martyrs' Square Sunday when they were shot at close range by two men driving a motorcycle.
Military Tribunal Representative, Judge Khaled Hammoud briefed Prosecutor General Adnan Addoum on the first phases of the investigations. In the meantime, Judge Hammoud continued to supervise the work of military prosecution authorities. Last night, he received the criminal and coroner's reports and ordered investigators to increase their efforts in piecing together the evidence. Investigators believe the crime was planned and it had no personal or apparent motives.
Meanwhile, army and security forces units are still on high alert in the city. Security measures include increasing security patrols, providing traffic police with special security, and setting up checkpoints in and around the city stopping all cars and motorists. The Governor of South, Faysal Al-Sayegh earlier announced a decision banning all motorcycles in the city from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.
Headed by House Speaker Nabih, Parliament today started a three-day legislative session held to discuss the public sector pay scales project and the rent draft law among other projects. The meeting this morning was attended by Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri and a number of ministers. Deputies ratified some 30 draft laws and bills that mainly deal with cooperation accords signed between Lebanon and a number of Arab and foreign states.
But parliament decided that the current rent law be extended until June of next year. The pay scales project was distributed on MPs and it will be studied tomorrow. Parliamentary sources said the house is expected to ratify the bill tomorrow. All discussions on the project are due to be finalized at a meeting of the finance and budget committee tonight.
Classes at the state-run Lebanese University were today halted as LU Professors held a strike and gathered in front of the Lebanese parliament since the early morning hours to hand their demands to House Speaker Nabih Berri. The teachers reiterated their call on MPs to endorse the bill's retroactive effect that was earlier ratified by parliamentary joint committees.
The university's Council of Delegates and the Executive Council of the Teachers League met last Sunday to decide on a plan of action aimed at pressuring parliament not to endorse the bill based on the reduced figures.
They also agreed to hold general assemblies in all LU faculties and announce an open strike if their demands are not met.
A delegation of the Executive Council of the Teachers' League headed by Mohammed Khreibani last night visited Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri at the Grand Saray. Discussions centered on LU teachers' demands regarding the public sector pay scales project. Hariri hoped the league would postpone the sit-in during the three-day parliamentary session stressing his commitment to their demands.
The five-nation cease-fire monitoring group accused Israel of violating the April 1996 Understanding. This came in a statement issued by the group following its meeting yesterday at the UNIFIL's headquarters in Naqoura.
The panel also called on all parties to take necessary measures to avoid targeting civilians and civilian areas while fighting in the South.
Meanwhile, Israeli attacks continued unabated on South Lebanon and the Western Bekaa. Israeli warplanes also carried out heavy inspection flights over the area. In another development, two civilians from the village of Shakra were injured yesterday in an old phosphoric bomb explosion. The bomb was a leftover from earlier Israeli attacks.
The Egyptian Ambassador to Lebanon Adel Al-Khodari said his country welcomes the election of General Emil Lahhoud as Lebanon's next head of state. Al-Khodari was speaking to reporters after talks with House Speaker Nabih Berri. The Egyptian Ambassador predicted a better future for Lebanon under the upcoming presidency of Lahhoud who was highly welcomed by the Lebanese people.
Al-Khodari added the recent Palestinian-Israeli Accord signed during the Wye River Summit is but a step in the right direction, stressing the importance of implementing all agreements and abiding by them. Al-Khodari also briefed the house speaker on all recent developments related to bilateral relations between Lebanon and Egypt.
The US Ambassador to Lebanon, David Satterfield continues his visits to Lebanese ministers whereby he acquaints himself with the work of Lebanese ministries and the problems they face. Satterfield is also discussing the possibility of cooperating with these ministries in light of his country's willingness to provide them with necessary aide.
The US Ambassador held a meeting with the Minister of Public Works Ali Harajli who later said Satterfield asked him about the role of ministries in the country and the extent of coordination between them. Their talks mainly tackled on work related to road networks in the capital.
The US ambassador also held talks with Information Minister Bassem Al-Sabaa that centered on the Wye River Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir reiterated the importance of the return of all war-displaced people in Lebanon to their different villages and towns. Sfeir was speaking after meeting a delegation from the Council for the Development of Mount Lebanon at Bkirki.
Sfeir earlier discussed with a Palestinian delegation the outcome of the Wye Plantation Summit between the Israeli and the Palestinians. Talks also centered on the economic situation of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.
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