AFP's Press Report
(Tuesday October 28, 1997) BEIRUT, Oct 27 (AFP) - A bomb exploded late Monday at the American University in Beirut (AUB) in the first such attack against a foreign institution here in at least four years. The blast brought down a wall and blew out windows at the university but caused no casualties, police and witnesses said. The blast was caused by a 1 kilogramme (two pound) charge of dynamite thrown into the university campus, police and witnesses said. A car was also badly damaged in the explosion for which no one had claimed responsibility half an hour after midnight (2230 GMT). The blast took place a few hours after a reception held in honour of the university president, John Waterberry. Waterberry, who lives in the United States, is currently visiting the campus. During the reception, he had announced plans to move to live in Beirut. The university public relations director, Ibrahim Khoury, said that "at 22:45 (2145 GMT) a man threw dynamite onto the campus between two buildings where teachers and their families live." Several Lebanese and foreign lecturers ran out of the buildings with their families. "It's repugnant. We really didn't need this now," Khoury said. The university, one of the largest in the Arab world, is located in the Moslem-majority western sector of the city, on the sea-front. A wing of the university was destroyed by a powerful blast on November 8 1991 at the end of the civil war in Lebanon. The oldest and most renowned of its buildings, the College Hall was destroyed. In the 1980s, the president of the AUB, Malcolm Kerr was assassinated on leaving his office. The killer was never found. On July 30, the United States lifted a ban on travelling to Lebanon imposed in 1985 for US nationals. The ban had been ordered following the hijacking of a TWA airliner to Beirut. But though the "travel ban" was lifted, US Secretary of State Madeleine said Lebanon remained a "dangerous" place and advised Americans not to go there. US diplomats based in Beirut never use Beirut airport but fly directly here from Cyprus. They always use armoured vehicles when travelling in the city and the ambassador's car is always preceded and followed by two vehicles topped by heavy machine-guns. The embassy itself which lies on a hill at the northern entrance to the city, is a fortress.
Created by the Documentation Center at AUB in collaboration with Al Mashriq of Høgskolen i Østfold, Norway.
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