A bomb ripped through a bus carrying civilians and members of the military during Wednesday morning rush hour in the northern city of Tripoli, killing 18 people and wounding 46, security officials said. The officials in the police said the dead included 10 off-duty soldiers. The army said the blast was a "terrorist attack targeting the army directly" and said the perpetrators were taking advantage of political tensions in the country. The military's statement had an initial casualty toll of 11 dead, including 9 soldiers. The different figures could not immediately be reconciled.
The bomb was planted on the side of a main street and went off as the bus passed by. The streets were filled with people heading to work, which contributed to the many casualties, the security officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. The blast raised suspicions that al-Qaida-inspired Islamic militants may have sought revenge on the military for clashes last year at a nearby Palestinian refugee camp.
The problem with assigning blame in Lebanon is that there are just so many choices.