Blast shakes Beirut

Last updated 10:45 24/06/2014

Relevant offers

Middle East

Iran dismisses Netanyahu's 'lies' as trivial to nuclear talks Iran-led forces spur fears of sectarian revenge in Iraq Iran: Obama's 10-year nuclear demand 'unacceptable' As airstrikes damage Islamic State, it seeks 'money, money, money' Israel's Netanyahu warns US against Iran nuclear deal Massive Iraqi assault begins to retake Tikrit from Islamic State Islamic State isn't actually very Islamic, experts say Islamic State threatens 'war' on Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey Former hostage Harmeet Singh Sooden to return to Iraq Inside a Saudi jail - it's not what you imagine

A suicide bomber has detonated an explosives-packed vehicle near a checkpoint and a cafe in a neighbourhood south of Lebanon's capital.

The blast caused several casualties, a Lebanese security official and witnesses said.

The explosion occurred just after midnight on Tuesday (local time) near the Abu Assaf cafe, where people had gathered to watch World Cup matches. An Associated Press reporter on the scene said he saw at least two wounded people. The state-run National News Agency said 12 people were wounded.

A security official said the blast near the Shatila area was caused by a suicide car bomb attacker and said at least five people were wounded. He spoke on condition of anonymity in line with military regulations. The area is a stronghold of the Shiite militant Hezbollah group.

It was the second explosion in a week and comes amid mounting regional tensions over dramatic events in nearby Iraq, where the al Qaeda splinter group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has seized large chunks of territory in the country's north and west.

On Friday, a suicide bomber detonated his explosives-laden car near a police checkpoint in eastern Lebanon, killing a policeman and wounding several other people.

The bombings, coupled with the detention in Beirut of alleged militant sleeping cells on Friday, sparked fears of renewed violence in a country which has been buffeted by the conflict in neighbouring Syria.

Syria's civil war has spilled into neighbouring Lebanon on multiple occasions and inflamed sectarian tensions. A series of car bombs have struck Shiite areas across Lebanon, killing dozens of people.

However, the last explosion to hit Lebanon before Friday's occurred on March 29, when a suicide bomber in an explosives-laden car targeted a Lebanese army checkpoint near the Syrian border, killing three people.

Hard-line Sunni groups have claimed responsibility for the attacks against Shiite areas, saying they are meant to punish the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah movement for fighting alongside Syrian President Bashar Assad's troops in Syria.

After Friday's bombing, troops began enforcing strict measures at all entrances to Beirut's southern suburbs, a Hezbollah stronghold, setting up checkpoints and searching cars.

The Lebanese are deeply divided over the civil war in Syria, with Sunnis largely backing the insurgency and Shiites siding with Assad

Ad Feedback

- AP

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content