A car bomb explosion ripped Tuesday through Beirut’s southern suburbs, a stronghold of Hezbollah, killing at least one person and wounding 20 others, security sources said.
Ambulances and fire trucks rushed to the scene of the blast site in Bir al-Abed just before noon.
Plumes of thick smoke filled the sky as response teams and security forces sealed the site of the explosion.
At least 10 vehicles in a parking lot were set on fire as residents rushed to rescue the wounded and clear the debris.
The sources said an employee at the parking lot died from wounds in hospital. They said another of the 20 wounded was in serious condition.
Residents were urged to clear the area, fearing a second explosion.
This is the second time this year that the Hezbollah stronghold has been targeted following threats of retaliation by Syrian rebels over the resistance group’s growing military involvement in Syria.
Four people were wounded in a twin rocket attack in the southern suburb of Shiyah in May. The attacks came hours after Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah confirmed his group was fighting alongside troops loyal to President Bashar Assad in the Homs town of Qusair.
Hezbollah MP Ali Ammar said Bir al-Abed had been targeted because it “embraces the resistance [Hezbollah],” adding that the attack “clearly bears the fingerprint of the Israeli enemy and its tools.”
Speaking to reporters in the area, Ammar said his party was being “targeted politically because it has confronted the U.S.-Israeli project in the region.”
Haret Hreik Mayor Ziad Wakid described the bombing as a “terrorist act.”
“The area won’t kneel down,” he told reporters as he inspected the blast site.
According to military experts Tuesday’s explosion left a crater 2 meters wide and over 2 meters deep.
At least 10 vehicles were completely burned out and over 20 others were damaged in and around the parking lot.