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3 US-Linked Restaurants Bombed in Lebanon - 2002-11-12

Three fast-food restaurants in Lebanon have been bombed, causing damage but no casualties. The blasts all occurred at restaurants that have links with the United States.

The explosions were the latest in a series of bombings that have targeted American fast-food chains in Lebanon.

There were no casualties in any of the blasts, which occurred early in the day, but the entire front end of a Pizza Hut restaurant in Tripoli, in northern Lebanon, was demolished. The other two explosions were in Beirut, at a Pizza Hut and a Winners fast-food restaurant.

No one has claimed responsibility for the explosions.

Lebanese army troops have been guarding U.S. restaurants in and around Beirut for weeks, following an earlier wave of explosions that began in May.

Sales of American products have fallen off dramatically in much of the Arab world since a boycott was organized by student groups this past summer.

The groups have accused the United States of supporting Israel against the Palestinians and "bullying" Iraq.

The current boycott has also affected sales of American-brand cigarettes, major U.S. soft drinks, and popular American brands of detergents. Last week, the U.S. fast-food chain McDonalds announced it was pulling out of several Arab countries, which it did not name, because of poor sales.

The Arab League recently voted to "reinvigorate" a 50-year-old boycott of Israeli products, but stopped short of including anything American.