From Beer el-Abed’s explosion in the Southern Suburb to the car bomb that rocked the Ruwais neighborhood on August 15 leaving 27 dead and around 50 injured, to the twin explosions that hit the Taqwa and Salam Mosques in Tripoli on August 24 and caused the death of 47 people and injuring hundreds, we cannot but fear the possibility of a new series of bombs and wonder where the next blast is going to be and whom it might target.
Since 1975, Lebanon has witnessed the explosion of 230 vehicles rigged with over 16 tons of explosives. According to estimates, 1820 lives were lost and 7196 people were injured, let alone the substantial physical damage to property and infrastructure. Although some of these bombings had specific targets and goals, the majority were aimed at intimidating and killing civilians, particularly during the hostilities between the Lebanese Forces (Phalanges and pro-Phalanges parties) and the Palestinians, when each party resorted to terrorizing its rivals by planting car bombs in their areas of control. It has also been reported that Sheikh Bashir Gemayel used this method of attack against the National Liberal Party in July 1978 and the latter retaliated giving Gemayel a taste of his own medicine.
At a later period, fingers were pointed at Syria for being behind car bombs targeting the Lebanese Forces. And not only were similar attacks exchanged between Syrians and their Palestinian rivals, but the car bomb saga continued even during the Amal-Hezbollah conflict in the 1980s. The adversaries of the Progressive Socialist Party were not spared either from car bomb explosions, nor were those of Israel. Despite the brutality of these atrocious attacks and the far-reaching repercussions they had on the political and security outlook, the attack on Rafik Hariri’s convoy, which occurred on February 14, 2005, dwarfed all its predecessors and left Lebanon marred in a prolonged state of turmoil that continues to date.
Probing into Rafik Hariri’s assassination has been going for eight years. Investigation into the majority of crimes was often prevented from reaching conclusive results but the available evidence was at times sufficient to point accusations at certain suspects- usually alternating between Israel and Syria.
The following Tables 1, 2, 3 and 4 detail a list of the car bomb attacks recorded in Lebanon between 1975 and 2013: