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Shopping mall blast near Beirut kills three


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A bomb tears through a shopping center in a Christian area of Lebanon.
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Rafik Hariri
Lebanon

BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNN) -- A bomb has ripped through a shopping mall in a predominantly Christian area north of Beirut, Lebanon, killing three people and wounding at least two others, police said.

It was the third bombing in six weeks in Lebanon, which has been tumultuous since a bombing killed former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri last month.

Video from the scene of Wednesday's blast showed the mall heavily damaged -- with glass, concrete and other debris strewn inside the shopping center and throughout the nearby street.

Police cordoned off the area, and an investigation is under way. There has been no claim of responsibility.

Police said the three people killed were security personnel at the mall, located about 12 miles north of Beirut.

The bombing comes on the heels of a similar blast just four days ago, when a car bomb exploded in another Christian area, sheering off part of a multistory office building. Nobody was killed, but it raised concerns about more violence in the volatile Lebanese capital.

No suspects have been arrested or identified in that blast or in the bombing that killed Hariri.

Hariri's assassination has resulted in massive demonstrations against Syria's troop presence in Lebanon and the resignation of Prime Minister Omar Karami's government.

Karami stepped down February 28 under intense pressure following Hariri's killing. But he was reappointed by parliament to bring together both opposition and loyalist politicians in a Cabinet to lead Lebanon to general elections scheduled for May.

Hariri was the chief opposition figure in Lebanon who spearheaded the push for Syrian troops and intelligence officers to leave Lebanon. That movement culminated in the largest demonstration in the nation's history last week, with an estimated 500,000 to 1 million people cramming the streets, chanting, "Get out Syria!"

The demonstration came one month to the day after Hariri's assassination.

Syria began pulling its 14,000 troops to the Bekaa Valley near the border March 8, and vowed to bring all the troops and intelligence officials across the border into Syria later on.

After Saturday's bombing, pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud urged Lebanon's divided politicians to begin immediate talks.


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