Monday, September 26, 2005

Lebanon seeks international help on security

The Lebanese government will ask the United States and France to help train its security forces after a bomb attack seriously wounded a prominent anti-Syrian TV broadcaster, Reuters reports.

The BBC reports that Lebanon's prime minister has held a meeting of security chiefs a day after a bomb blast seriously wounded a prominent television journalist:

Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and his defence and interior ministers discussed steps to stop more attacks.

Students called for sit-in protests at universities and in central Beirut.

Protesters intend to gather in Martyrs' Square - the scene of massive anti-Syrian demonstrations earlier this year - on Monday evening.

May Chidiac, a political talk show host, is the first woman to be targeted in a recent series of bombings mainly against anti-Syrian figures.

Medics said Ms Chidiac had lost her left leg and arm, fractured her pelvis and suffered extensive burns from the bomb which had been placed under her car.

"Her condition is now stable following the surgeries," a spokesman for the Hotel Dieu hospital said.

The family of assassinated former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri has offered to fly skin grafting experts to Lebanon to treat Ms Chidiac, while Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation shareholder and Saudi prince al-Walid bin Talal has put his private jet at her disposal to fly her abroad.

LBC, which was set up by the wartime Christian militia the Lebanese Forces, has been one of the most critical Lebanese media outlets of Syria's control of Lebanon
since the Civil War ended in 1990.

Hours before the attack, Ms Chidiac had been discussing Syria's possible role in the assassination of ex-PM Rafik Hariri in an explosion in February.

Sources close to Ms Chidiac are quoted saying she is committed to an independent and sovereign Lebanon and opposes Syrian control - which has been in retreat since Damascus withdrew its troops from Lebanon in the wake of Hariri's death...