Missionary's home bombed in Lebanon

Dutch missionary Jakob Griffioen (alternate but apparently incorrect spellings: Jacob Gerifon, Grifion) and his German wife woke up around midnight last night to the sound of someone at the front door of their ground floor apartment in the northern Lebanon town of Tripoli. When they checked to see what was happening, all they saw was someone running away down the street—and a package at their door.

"They called for help from a Jordanian and an Egyptian, two of their followers, who live in the adjacent apartment," a police officer told the AFP news service. "The Jordanian, who was the first to arrive, was killed instantly by the explosion of the device."

Another security official told Reuters that it wasn't so instant. "He examined it, saw a fuse and attempted to stop it, but it continued and the explosive went off." The Associated Press says the bag was shooting out sparks when Jamil Ahmed Rifai, a Jordanian convert from Islam, tried to defuse it.

"A man who called himself Mohammed, and who had recently visited the couple frequently under the pretext that he wanted to convert to Christianity, is the prime suspect in this attack," a police source told AFP. A military source told the AP that the motive appears to be directly targeted against Griffioen and his wife, and not as part of broad-based anti-Western sentiment in the country.

The Dutch newspaper Die Telegraaf (machine translation) says the 51-year-old Griffioen, who has been working in Lebanon for 20 years, was repeatedly threatened before the attack.

In November, American missionary Bonnie Penner was killed at a Christian hospital in the southern town of Sidon. Southern Lebanon is generally more radicalized than the north, but the AP notes that "Tripoli, Lebanon's second largest city, is home to Sunni fundamentalist groups. Qubba [the neighborhood where Griffioen lives] has a small Christian population."

(One note: don't believe this photo. Though the caption indicates that it's of damage caused by last night's bombing, it's actually a year old, from a bombing of a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in the same city.)

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