An Iranian-backed fundamentalist group linked to the holding of Western hostages said Saturday it had thwarted an attempt to assassinate its mentor.
A car rigged with 200 pounds of TNT was parked off the road that Sheik Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah takes daily from his house to Beir el-Abed mosque in Beirut's southern slums, said a statement by Hezbollah, or Party of God.Police said the bomb-laden car was set to be detonated by remote contol. They said they could not confirm it was intended to kill Fadlallah.
The bomb was safely defused in the car, which was parked in front of a bank about 100 yards from the mosque and 1.2 miles from the Shiite Moslem cleric's house in Haret Hreik district, the statement said.
Fadlallah, 54, is the spiritual guide of Hezbollah, believed to be the umbrella of Shiite extremist factions holding most of the 18 Western hostages, including eight Americans, in Lebanon.
The hostage held longest is Terry Anderson, chief Middle East correspondent for The Associated Press. He was kidnapped March 16, 1985.
There was no indication who might have engineered the bombing attempt.