Journalist Wounded In Car Bomb

Lebanese army soldiers guard the damaged car of May Chidiac, a Lebanese political talk show host, after a bomb placed under her car exploded in the town of Ghadir, near the Christian port city of Jounieh, in northern Beirut, Lebanon, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2005. May Chidiac, a prominent Lebanese journalist working for a leading anti-Syrian television station was seriously wounded Sunday.
A prominent Lebanese journalist working for a leading anti-Syrian television station was seriously wounded Sunday when a bomb placed under her car exploded, the latest in a string of bombings in the country.

Political talk show host May Chidiac of the private Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation was inside her car when the bomb exploded in Ghadir, a town near the Christian port city of Jounieh, north of the capital, Lebanese security officials and the TV station said.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Chidiac was critically injured and taken to a nearby hospital. She was later transferred to Hotel Dieu hospital in Beirut for surgery. Dr. Antoine Zoghbi, who heads the hospital's emergency unit, told reporters Chidiac was undergoing extensive surgery and her condition was "very stable."

The latest attack comes amid rising fears in Lebanon of security deterioration as U.N. investigation into the assassination former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri nears conclusion. Just two days ago, the U.N. investigators returned to Lebanon after four days of questioning Syrian officials in Damascus.

The country has been rife with rumors and speculation of more attacks as chief investigator Detlev Mehlis prepares to issue his report in late October.

Prime Minister Fuad Saniora, speaking to reporters outside the hospital in Jounieh, said the bomb, like other recent explosions, was related to the Hariri investigation.

"There is no doubt it is all related, we don't want to deny that," Saniora said.

He appealed to Lebanese to be patient. "We are paying the tax for freedom and independence," Saniora said, adding that he had contacted the U.S. ambassador for technical assistance.

The bomb was planted under the driver's seat of Chidiac's Range Rover and exploded when she turned on the car. LBC reported that one of her legs and arms were severed by the blast.

A security official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press, said the bomb was made up of less than two pounds of plastic explosives, placed under the driver's seat. Television footage from the scene showed part of the car's left door was blown off while the front of the vehicle was a twisted wreck.

Presidential spokesman Rafik Shalala denounced the explosion and said its aim was to destabilize security in Lebanon.

Chidiac, who is in her 40s, is one of several hosts of a daily political talk show at the station, which broadcasts in Lebanon and is widely seen in the Arab world and by Lebanese communities across the world. Chidiac hosted the show Sunday morning with a political analyst from the leading An-Nahar newspaper.