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Blast at Beirut campus a warning for new chief

Dynamite hurled at the American University of Beirut may have been meant as a message for the school's new president, the first to live here since Lebanon's civil war, a leading newspaper suggests.

Monday night's blast, one of two within 24 hours in Beirut, shattered windows at professors' quarters and destroyed two cars but caused no injuries. The attackers threw sticks of dynamite over a wall, then fled by motorcycle.The attack came within hours of the announcement by new school president John Waterbury, a former professor at Princeton, that he would live in Beirut.

No school president has served here since 1984, when then-president Malcolm Kerr was assassinated on campus.

Waterbury was on campus at the time of the blast. He toured the campus Tuesday to inspect damage but made no comment.

An-Nahar newspaper suggested the blast may have been a warning to Waterbury, although there has been no word on who was responsible.

The explosion was the first on campus since a 1991 car bomb that destroyed a landmark university hall.