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Middle east

Explosion strikes Hezbollah stronghold near Beirut

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-01-22

A car bomb struck a stronghold of the Shiite militant movement Hezbollah in Beirut on Tuesday, killing at least four people and sending plumes of smoke over the southern suburbs of the Lebanese capital.

Hezbollah’s Al Manar channel reported that the blast took place in the Haret Hriek area, which has been the target of repeated car bombs in recent months.

Images of the scene broadcast by the station showed flames erupting from a building and a large plume of smoke billowing over a street near the charred remains of cars as a crowd gathered at the site of the blast.

At least four people were killed and another 35 injured, according to the Red Cross.

A group known as the Al-Nusra Front in Lebanon claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was in retaliation for Hezbollah’s military support of President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Syria.

Lebanese security officials say the blast in Haret Hreik district took place metres (yards) away from where a car bomb struck earlier this month, killing five people.

Tensions from the crisis in neighbouring Syria have increasingly spilled over into Lebanon over the past months.

Hezbollah has deployed forces into Syria to support President Assad, a member of the Shiite-derived Alawite minority, in his fight against mainly Sunni rebels.

Hezbollah-run areas across Lebanon have been targeted by a string of recent rocket and bomb attacks claimed by hardline Sunni militants.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)

Date created : 2014-01-21

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