By Simon Caldwell A MAN was killed in a Catholic Church in Beirut, Lebanon, as he tried to open a handbag booby-trapped with a hand-grenade.
The device, planted during a Mass in St George's Maronite Church, exploded about 10 minutes after the service had finished. Shafik Rajha, 60, the caretaker of 40 years, died instantly when he opened the bag.
No group or individual has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, which was described by Prime Minister Salim floss as a "cowardly and criminal act" and was codemned by military prosecutor Nasri Lahoud as a "message aimed at undermining security" in the country.
Meanwhile, a Lebanese
Maronite Catholic, Marcel Khalifa, a singer, is expected to stand trial on a charge of blasphemy against Islam after he quoted the Koran in his song, I am Yussef, oh Father.
The investigating magistrate, Abdul Rahman Shehab, has referred the case to a Beirut criminal court with the recommendation that Khalifa, who sang the song three years ago, be sentenced to between three months and three years in jail.
It is alleged the song insulted the divine inspiration of the Prophet Mohammed, though Kalifa argues it was dedicated to the people of southern Lebanon and the Palestinians "oppressed" by the Israelis.