Beirut: Car bomb kills four, wounds 66
Flames rise from burning cars at the site of a car bomb that targeted Beirut's southern suburb of Haret Hreik on January 2, 2014. [AFP]
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Four people were killed and 66 others were wounded Thursday when a car bomb ripped through the Beirut southern suburb of Haret Hreik where Hezbollah enjoys broad support, a security source told The Daily Star.
Thick plumes of black smoke blanketed the city's skyline as ambulances rushed to the scene of the blast, the second in the capital in less than a week.
Hundreds of people flocked to the site of the explosion, a densely populated neighborhood of the southern suburb, and helped Lebanese Red Cross personnel move the wounded from the rubble that littered the area.
The car bomb damaged dozens of vehicles parked nearby as well as several buildings in the commercial, residential area.
Minutes after the explosion, gunshots were fired in the air to disperse the crowd.
Hezbollah's Al-Manar television reported that an explosive-rigged, four-wheel-drive vehicle was parked on the Al-Areed Street.
Thursday’s blast comes only days after a car bomb in Downtown Beirut killed former Minister Mohammad Shatah and seven others.
Lebanon has been hit by a spate of security incidents linked to the ongoing crisis in Syria, particularly Hezbollah’s military involvement there. The bulk of the attacks have targeted areas that that are loyal to Hezbollah such as the southern suburbs.
On Nov. 19, two suicide bombers targeted Iran’s Embassy in Beirut, killing over a dozen people including an Iranian diplomat. The attack was claimed by the Abdallah Azzam Brigades, an Al-Qaeda offshoot headed by Saudi national Majid al-Majid.
Army Intelligence arrested last month a Saudi national who is suspected of being Majid, security sources have told The Daily Star.
A security source told The Daily Star Thursday that the Army will take unprecedented, strict security measures, fearing reprisals by the Abdallah Azzam Brigades over the reported arrest of Majid.