Car bomb kills at least 2 south of Beirut


AFP– At least two people were killed late Saturday in a blast that shook Hezbollah’s stronghold in southern Beirut, a security official said.

“At least two people have been killed in an explosion in the southern suburbs” of Beirut where the Shiite Hezbollah movement has its headquarters, the official told AFP.

“The cause of the explosion has not yet been determined,” the official added.

Earlier the official national news agency NNA reported that the blast could have been aimed at a member of the Palestinian Hamas movement in Lebanon.

The blast was “the result of three bombs placed under a car whose owner is said to be a member of Hamas,” the agency said, adding that two people were wounded in the explosion.

Hamas spokesman Raafat Murra told AFP that the Palestinian Islamic movement has an office in the area where the blast occurred but could not immediately say if there were casualties among members of the group.

An AFP photographer said the blast occured in an alley in Harek Hreik, metres (yards) away from a community centre where Hezbollah was organising a ceremony to commemorate the Shiite rituals of Ashura.

There were conflicting reports of the exact location of the blast, with some saying it was in an underground parking and others in a warehouse.

The 10-day Ashura rituals which end on Sunday commemorate the killing of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, by armies of the Sunni caliph Yazid in 680.

Hezbollah security forces cordoned off the area keeping journalists at bay, the photographer said.

Local television stations also reported that an unspecified number of people were wounded in the blast, which they said targeted a Hamas official who they did not identify.

Witnesses said that local Hamas official Ali Baraka has an office in the area where the blast occured.

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