[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Thursday, 2 June, 2005, 13:20 GMT 14:20 UK
Anti-Syria writer slain in Beirut
Wreckage of Samir Qasir's car
The blast hit mid-morning as Qasir was about to leave home
A prominent anti-Syrian journalist has been killed by a bomb planted in his car in a mostly Christian residential area of the Lebanese capital Beirut.

Police said Samir Qasir died instantly in the blast outside his home in the Ashrafiyeh district.

Mr Qasir was known as a supporter of Lebanon's anti-Syrian opposition.

Syria ended its 29-year military presence in Lebanon in April under intense international pressure and after huge popular demonstrations.

Mr Qasir was a front-page columnist for the al-Nahar newspaper, where he wrote strongly critical articles against the pro-Syrian Lebanese regime.

He is the most prominent Lebanese figure to be assassinated since former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. That killing on 14 February plunged the country into its worst political crisis since the 1975-1990 war.

Election time

Crowds gathering round the smoking wreck of Qasir's white Alfa Romeo car found his body slumped in the front passenger seat.

File picture of Samir Qasir
Qasir was known for his trenchant anti-Syrian articles

A passer-by was killed by the blast and a woman travelling in the car was taken to hospital with injuries, the Lebanese National News Agency reported.

At first it was reported that Qasir's wife Giselle Khuri was injured, but it later transpired that she was not in the country, the agency said.

Police said the bomb was placed under the driver's seat of the vehicle.

Lebanon is in the middle of a hotly contested parliamentary election that began on 29 May and continue until 19 June.

Solange Gemayel - one of a number of anti-Syria MPs elected in the first round - said: "The Lebanese-Syrian police regime is still in place and continues to work. Nobody can tell us that the regime has been eliminated."

A series of explosions have gone off in Christian areas of the capital and its suburbs since the Syrian withdrawal, killing three people.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See the devestation caused by the bomb that killed Samir Kassir



RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific