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Beirut Terrorists Open Assault on Central Bank

November 20, 1986|From Times Wire Services

BEIRUT — A rocket-propelled grenade hit Lebanon's Central Bank on Wednesday, missing the bank governor's office by yards and injuring two people. A previously unknown group claimed responsibility and vowed more attacks on financial targets.

A police spokesman quoted by Beirut radio said the grenade was fired at the bank, in Muslim West Beirut, from the political science department of nearby Lebanese University. The two terrorist gunmen who fired the grenade escaped on a motorcycle, he said.

Two people, including a policeman, were injured in the attack, the spokesman said.

The rocket-propelled grenade hit the fifth floor of the building, he said, missing the office of Edmond Neim, governor of the Central Bank, by just a few yards.

In a telephone call to the state-owned National News Agency a few hours after the attack, the previously unknown Organization of Black Tigers--the People's Forces, claimed responsibility and said it would stage more attacks on those it blames for devaluation of the local currency.

"The organization has decided to execute some traitors at the Central Bank," the statement said.

The Lebanese pound has been declining on the foreign exchange market for the last several months. It dropped to an all-time low Wednesday--66 pounds to the dollar.

"We will make history with the rifle and cannon and we will uproot from existence all the dogs who have eaten the flesh of our people," the statement said. "We warn all currency speculators and bank managers that their days are numbered."

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