- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 16, 2003

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Feb. 16 (UPI) — At least 12 people were killed and 10 wounded Sunday when a fuel-laden truck hit dozens of civilian cars at the crowded Lebanese border point with Syria.

The truck, coming from Syria, lost its breaks, crashed into the cars and immediately caught fire, witnesses and security sources said. Dozens of passenger cars, nearby shops and the Lebanese customs office also caught fire.

Initial reports indicated at least 12 people were killed and 10 others were wounded. The number may rise, however.

Ambulances, firefighters and police rushed to the area to help evacuate the victims, many of whom were burned beyond recognition.

The wounded were taken to hospitals in eastern Lebanon and inside Syria. Among the casualties were a number of Muslim pilgrims who were on their way back to Lebanon after performing the Hajj in the Saudi holy city of Mecca.

Lebanese Defense Minister Khalil Hrawi and Syrian top officers stationed in Lebanon inspected the area.

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