Conflict & Justice

Spate of violence continues in Beirut with latest bombing claiming 5 lives (VIDEO)


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. A large car bomb killed five people and wounded at least 20 in south Beirut, a health ministry source told AFP.



A blast in Lebanon's capital Beirut killed at least five people Thursday, the latest attack in a spate of violence to hit the country.

Dozens were wounded when the car bomb went off during the evening rush hour in a southern suburb known as a stronghold of the Shia militant group Hezbollah.

Abdallah Azzam Brigades — a Sunni jihadist group that said it was behind the suicide bomb attack on the Iranian embassy in Beirut in November that killed more than 20 — claimed responsibility for the attack.

Thursday's attack came just a day after the head of Abdallah Azzam Brigades, Majid al-Majid, was reportedly arrested.

The blast left the mangled wreckage of cars in the street and blew out store front windows.

"Suddenly, the whole area went bright and we started running away," Ali Oleik, an accountant who works in a nearby office building, told The Associated Press. "I saw two bodies on the street, one of a woman and another of a man on a motorcycle who was totally deformed.

Violence from the war in neighboring Syria has crept into Lebanon, after Hezbollah sent fighters to aid Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's troops against the rebels.

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Just last Friday, a car bomb in downtown Beirut killed half a dozen people and injured dozens more.

Among the dead was Mohamad Chatah, a former Lebanese finance minister and ambassador to the United States who was a vocal critic of Hezbollah and Assad.

Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, to whom Chatah was an adviser, blamed Hezbollah for that attack. The Islamist group has denied any involvement.

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The November attack, which hit the same part of the city as Thursday's blast, left 23 people dead.

On Dec. 4, Hezbollah commander Hassan Lakkis was shot dead in Hadath, near Beirut.

Later this month, four Hezbollah members are set to stand trial in the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who was also killed in a car bomb attack.