Lebanese Say 'Nowhere Is Safe' after Beirut Blast

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The deadly car bomb that ripped through downtown Beirut shook buildings and rattled windows, triggering fear among many people that "nowhere is safe" anymore in Lebanon.

The country has seen a rise in attacks linked to the fighting in neighboring Syria, but Friday's explosion in the heart of Beirut brought the unrest even closer to home.

Street cleaner Ali Aoun was carrying out his daily chores when the car exploded, killing six people, including adviser to former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, prominent March 14 politician Mohammed Shatah.

"The pressure of the blast was so powerful. All the buildings shook around me," he said as he swept up piles of broken glass outside a badly damaged office building.

"I can't believe I am still alive."

"This area is supposed to be safe, perhaps the safest in all the country," said Ziad, a businessman who gave only his first name.

"It is clear that nowhere is safe anymore. If I had the chance to take my wife and children somewhere else, I would."

The blast was so powerful that it wrecked the facades of at least 10 office buildings, damaging cars, trendy cafes and designer boutiques across a wide swathe of the city center.

The streets were carpeted with glass and shrapnel and bloodstains could be seen on the pavement in the usually spotless district, home to banks, parliament, and the prime minister's office in the hilltop Ottoman-era Grand Serail compound.

Fresh food was still laid out in a display at a shattered restaurant, just meters from the scene of the attack.

'Anyone can be killed, anytime, anywhere'

Hatem, a security guard standing a few meters away from the destruction, said the attack is a sign of worse things to come for Beirut.

"This attack is a message to everyone in Lebanon that says: everyone can be killed, anytime, anywhere. The country is heading towards destruction," he said.

"The worst thing is the feeling of insecurity. A car bomb can hit anyone, anywhere. And you can't predict it or take any precautions."

Joelle, a smartly-dressed, young office worker shuddered with fear.

"I am terrified. I was at work. Many of my colleagues have been injured, and they were inside their offices when the blast hit. What does this mean -- we can't even go to work?" she said.

"No one deserves to die this way."

A Kuwaiti businessman who had just arrived to Lebanon said what happened was "tragic" and could harm Lebanon's economy.

"You know this means no one is going to come and do business here in Lebanon any more," he said, declining to be name.

His Lebanese escort Zulfiqar added: "People come and party here (downtown) every night, and they work here every day. It is shocking."

Others paid tribute to Shatah, an economist, former finance minister and Lebanon's ambassador to the United States.

Shatah was the ninth high-profile anti-Syria figure killed in Lebanon since ex-PM Rafik Hariri's assassination in 2005.

Comments 26
Thumb geha 27 December 2013, 16:02

hizbushaitan: experts at bombing the Lebanese way of life.
hizbushaitan: murderers, terrorists, bombers, kidnappers, traitors, drug traffickers, assassins,...
hizbushaitan: Iranians.

hizbushaitan: get out of my Lebanon.

Thumb primesuspect 27 December 2013, 16:04


Missing imagine_1979 27 December 2013, 16:49

Not even worth replying to...

Default-user-icon smart idiot (Guest) 27 December 2013, 20:40

wlak it's the allahu snackbarians...the extremists who load cars up with explosives..al nusra. you idiot. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=bFkC44ndYxI

Thumb beiruti 27 December 2013, 16:10

On Wednesday, President Sulieman said that he could accept a fait accompli neutral cabinet, that is, one in which neither Hezbollah nor any other political party could hold a veto. Yesterday, Naim Kassem, in response to the President's suggestion voiced strong opposition and said "All options are open".

Last night Safadi is assassinated by car bomb. Message delivered by Hezbollah -- don't think about doing anything independently with the Lebanese government because we know where you all live, how you go to work and we can kill any of you Lebanese, anytime, anywhere.

And then they want dialogue!

Thumb Mystic 27 December 2013, 16:12

Oh come on, what about the Dahiyeh bombing? You guys didn't say anything back then, just "good riddance" Lebanon has been through harder times than these.

Thumb primesuspect 27 December 2013, 16:15

We shjt on dahya and its criminal people.

Thumb geha 27 December 2013, 16:24

the dahiyeh bombing is the result of hizbushaitan fighting in Syria. they made good friends there, and those friends returned one of their gifts.
although we are against it, we have nothing to do with that.
but this assassination and all the other assassinations of m14 personalities is clearly the doing of hizbushaitan, and that has been proven over time.

Thumb geha 27 December 2013, 16:35

I have no sectarian hate: I hate hizbshaitan, the Iranian extremist terrorist militia, same as I hate sunni extremists and takfiris.

Thumb Mystic 27 December 2013, 17:29

And the Israeli bombing 2006 that you guys praised aswell? Way before the Syrian conflict. What do you call that genius?

Thumb Mystic 27 December 2013, 17:29

funny thing, that i never hear you complain about the takfiris geha.

Missing imagine_1979 27 December 2013, 16:53

U know when gebran teuini got assassinated some stupid people also distributed baklawa... Yes there is hatred and it is sad but since 2005 (2004 marqan hmadeh) all POLITICAL assassinations target march 14 anti syrian regim politicians and all u hv to say is israel... U r really acting in a way pushing all the rest of the lebanese to hatery... Political leaders are being assassinated one after the other... (Even nbn journalist said outload after eido assassination:3a 2bell fatfat...) what a shame, tfou

Thumb beiruti 27 December 2013, 16:13

Sure it is jumping to conclusions. But then, when Hezbollah suffers a hit, before the smoke is clear and the glass swept up, Nasrallah with all of the intelligence capacities of Hezbollah gets on the big screen and declares that the case has been investigated and the culprits are, of course the dreaded tikfiris or the Israelis or some other similar boogie man.
So with this latest killing of an M14 figure, why not find, accuse and convict Hezbollah now, rather than going through the charade of a State investigation. Kassem telegraphed this event yesterday with his comment that "all options are open".

Thumb beiruti 27 December 2013, 16:17

Do not think that Hezbollah wants a Lebanon like we have all known, or a cosmopolitan Beirut. No, this is not their vision. The Hezbollah glorifies the culture of death and martyrdom; existence in a constant state of war so that this culture of death can flourish. They have chosen Lebanon as their home base for this culture.
The Lebanese must wake up to this reality if they are to remain in their country and recognize it as their country rather than some dystopia future land that is a nightmare for the Lebanese, the region and the world. The Hunger Games is fiction in the States, but is fast becoming reality in Lebanon. Wake up Lebanese, rise up and excise this cancer from your body politic before you become too weak to resist "the resistance".

Thumb geha 27 December 2013, 16:38

you are one of the most stupid persons I know.
or you are an intelligent person whose job is to come here to post comments in favor of hizbushaitan and aoun.
both ways: go back to iran on your own please.

Thumb beiruti 27 December 2013, 16:46

Really FT? Ever been on the road to Zahle through Chtoura. The boulevards are lined with yellow and green banners with the sullen faces of the Hezbollah dead, glorifying their loss. This is not Dahye or the South.
The families gladly give their sons and daughters over to the killing machine of Hezbollah since the family gets a monetary stipend for each son or daughter that they give over to death as a martyr. So there is praise in the mosque and jingle in the pockets derived from putting Lebanese Shia into the meatgrinder that is the Hezbollah vision of perpetual war and strife.

Thumb beiruti 27 December 2013, 17:07

Yes I know it is in Baalbek, Hermal and so forth, but there are not so many Hezbolli in Zahle, where my family is from. Yet, to get in or out of Zahle going either Dahr Bidr or through Metn, you must pass the martyr's banners. And your post FT reference the South and Dahye as Hezbollah areas, not these areas. I am glad to see that your amended comment acknowledges that Hezbollah's presence is not just limited to where Shia have a demographic majority, but they make their presence known all over the country.

Thumb beiruti 27 December 2013, 17:37

Yes, true FT, its even more difficult to confine 2/3 of the Lebanese population to a few villages on Mount Lebanon to please your fantasy.

Thumb FlameCatcher 27 December 2013, 17:27

"Street cleaner Ali Aoun" : this is most probably the bastard child of Michel Aoun and Hassan Nasrallah. Was he the one to plant the bomb ?

Thumb proudm14 28 December 2013, 15:43


Thumb FlameCatcher 27 December 2013, 17:45

Iran is safe too ... no explosions there ... yet !

Thumb beiruti 27 December 2013, 18:18

Look at your post of 1 hour ago, FT, you said "hezb martyrs are only honored in their respective areas (south and dahye) while you hijack martyrs that arent even yours (hawi, bashir gemayel, moawad, etc) and post them on all lebanese roads and in all areas to draw sympathy and emotional support from your emotional fanbase."

I'm not making this stuff up.

Default-user-icon M8M14SuckA** (Guest) 27 December 2013, 18:34

Lebanese politicians want more Lebanese to leave the country to make room for the new Lebanese who are pouring into the country from Syria. So like a good Lebanese, leave Lebanon, work hard, and send your money back to Lebanon to support corrupt politicians. This is the only way to keep the economy (scratch that) to sustain these corrupt politicians.

Missing helicopter 27 December 2013, 19:40

Shatah was the ninth high-profile anti-Syria figure killed (by Israel according to HA and M8) in Lebanon since ex-PM Rafik Hariri's assassination in 2005.
*** According to M14 theory, Syria and HA are behind the killings.
*** According to HA and M8, Israel is killing the Anti-Syria M14 leaders .... proving M14 theory that Assad, HA and Israel are allies (alliance of necessity).
Neither theory is good for the image of HA or M8.

Default-user-icon Qaslab (Guest) 27 December 2013, 20:21

Every dog has his day ... Nasrallahs day will come , hopefully sooner. Two ways I see this ending;

1 We hand over the gov to HA once and for all .
2 We arm ourselves and get dirty and overthrow them , they will never seize to be what they are unless we seize their existence in life.

Missing peace 28 December 2013, 01:10

as usual stupid M8ers say it is M14 that killed one of its own...again! they are so stupid they cannot even realize how ridicule they sound! LOL