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A powerful car bomb exploded in Syrian-policed west Beirut Tuesday, killing the spiritual head of Lebanon's Sunni Moslem community and 20 other people, police said.

Police said 46 other people were wounded in the explosion, which occurred as the Arab League tried to maintain a 6-day-old truce to halt the latest fighting between Moslem and Christian forces.Among the dead was Grand Mufti Hassan Khaled, the Sunni Moslem religious leader and a prominent voice of moderation who had been involved in efforts to end the bloodshed.

The explosion happened at 1 p.m. as Khaled was being driven through the crowded Aishe Bakkar district from his office to his home for lunch, a police spokesman said.

The spokesman, who cannot be named under standing rules, said Khaled's driver and three other people riding in his car were killed. Four Lebanese riot policemen riding in a jeep in front of Khaled's car also were among the fatalities.

The bomb-laden car blew up only 100 yards from the home of acting Prime Minister Salim Hoss, a Sunni politician who heads the Moslem Cabinet in Lebanon's dual government. It was not clear where Hoss was at the time, but one of his bodyguards guarding the building in which he lives was killed by flying glass and shrapnel.

Khaled, 68, is survived by a wife and four sons.


(Additional information)

2 kidnapped again

Two West German relief workers who were freed from captivity 12 days ago were kidnapped again in the Lebanese port city of Sidon Tuesday, police said.

They said gunmen in two cars intercepted Heinrich Struebig, 48, and Petra Schnitzler, 26, as they were on their way from their center to the Mieh Mieh Palestinian refugee camp at 7:30 p.m.

A police spokesman said the pair were in two cars when the gunmen firing in the air stopped them and took them away.