BEIRUT, Lebanon -- A bomb placed under the driver's seat of a car exploded Monday, killing Jihad Jibril, a senior military chief of a group the United States lists as terrorist. He was the son of radical Palestinian guerrilla leader Ahmed Jibril.
The Syrian-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command blamed Israel and vowed to retaliate. The PLO faction, which has long opposed the Israel-Palestinian peace process and is on the U.S. State Department list of terrorist organizations, has focused its efforts on attacking Israel from bases in Lebanon in recent years.
Jihad Jibril, 38, who commanded the group's military operations in Lebanon, was driving his Peugeot sedan down a street off the busy Corniche Mazraa in west Beirut when the bomb detonated at midday, Lebanese police said.
The blast wrecked the car, blew a hole in the street and scattered bits of Jihad's body for several yards. It was not known how the bomb was detonated.
Prosecutor-General Adnan Addoum said Jihad Jibril's body was identified by relatives and friends.
In Damascus, the Syrian capital, a somber Ahmed Jibril said he would not be daunted by the assassination of his son.
"He is just like the other martyrs falling on the land of Palestine," Jibril said as he received condolences from scores of supporters. "We will stay the course of martyrs until victory and the achievement of our goals."
Asked who was responsible for the assassination, Talal Naji, an aide to Ahmed Jibril, said: "Israel alone."
In Israel, Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer denied Israel was involved.
"Not everything that blows up in Beirut has to be connected to us," Ben-Eliezer told Israeli television.
Later Monday, Jihad's body, wrapped in the Palestinian flag, was carried through the Palestinian refugee camp of Bourj el-Barajneh, south Beirut, where supporters fired automatic rifles into the air with shouts of "With our blood, with our souls, we redeem you, oh, martyr!"
Although other militant groups had eclipsed the Damascus-based PFLP-GC in the past decade, it continued to threaten Israel from Lebanon.