News / Middle East

Bomb Blast Rocks South Beirut

Bomb Blast Rocks South Beiruti
January 03, 2014 8:40 AM
An apparent car bomb blast in Beirut's mostly Shiite southern suburbs has left several casualties, according to various media reports.
Bomb Blast Rocks South Beirut
Edward Yeranian
An apparent car bomb blast in Beirut's mostly Shiite southern suburbs has left several casualties, according to various media reports.

Ambulances rushed to the scene of the blast in the mostly Shiite suburb of Haret Hreik, as rescue workers and young men searched for victims amid the rubble. The force of the blast tore through vehicles and store-fronts, leaving charred wreckage and twisted metal.

Hezbollah's Al-Manar television reported that the explosion took place 200 meters from a political office belonging to the group, but denied that any top official had been targeted by the blast.

Recent explosions in BeirutRecent explosions in Beirut
Recent explosions in Beirut
Recent explosions in Beirut
There were conflicting death tolls. Reuters news agency reported at least three deaths and about 20 injuries. The French news agency said five people died and at least 20 were wounded. Officials said there were assessing the tolls.

Later Thursday, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the U.S. State Department condemned the attack.  The United States also called on all parties to "refrain from retaliatory acts."

The city has been recently been hit by attacks linked to heightened Sunni-Shiite tensions over the Syrian war.

Interim Health Minister Ali Hassan al Khalil told journalists at the scene of the blast that health officials were attempting to cope with the latest explosion to hit Beirut.

He said that what took place is part of a big battle against terrorism that affects everyone in the country, because it seeks to create sectarian strife. He called for national unity to deal with the situation.

  • A man carries an injured woman away from the site of a car bomb explosion in a southern suburb of Beirut, Jan. 2, 2014.
  • Lebanese citizens gather at the site of a car bomb explosion in a southern suburb of Beirut, Jan. 2, 2014.
  • A firefighter extinguishes a fire at the site of an explosion in Beirut's southern suburbs, Jan. 2, 2014.
  • A man extinguishes burned cars at the site of a car bomb explosion in a southern suburb of Beirut, Jan. 2, 2014.
  • Women who left their destroyed home cry out after a car bomb explosion in a southern suburb of Beirut, Jan. 2, 2014.

Anger erupts

Angry residents of the neighborhood chanted as the minister tried to speak, interrupting him several times. Khalil said he could not clarify if a suicide-bomber had been behind the explosion but stressed that the “large crater from the blast leaves people asking that question.”

The director of the nearby Bahman Hospital, Ali Karim, told reporters that over thirty casualties had been taken to his hospital, including three dead.

He said that women and children were among the casualties and that many victims were suffering from head wounds and shrapnel. He said casualties were also taken to three other local hospitals. Their figures were not immediately available.

Lebanon's National News Agency reported that that Military Judge Saqr Saqr had put the Lebanese Army military police and military intelligence in charge of investigating the cause of the explosion.

The explosion comes less than a week after former Lebanese finance minister Mohamad Chatah, a harsh critic of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, was killed in a massive car bombing in central Beirut. Chatah was a close political adviser to former prime minister Sa'ad al Hariri, a Sunni.

A suicide bombing killed and wounded dozens in front of the Iranian Embassy in November. A Sunni extremist group claimed responsibility for that blast.

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Comment Sorting
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
January 03, 2014 10:11 AM
2. In 2006 when they murdered Rafiq Hariri, his son Saad Hariri took over the prime minister's office in his stead. Quite as he knew where his trouble was coming from and truly made some comment regarding bringing the perpetrators to book - which I knew he did not have the power to do, hence Hezbollah and Syria's Assad were disproportionately more powerful than the army at his disposal - he started to play to the gallery by making references to Israel that were only aimed at buying cheap popularity and maybe somehow assuage the Hezbollah fighters, terrorists and hit squad from quickly taking him out. His game was somewhat ambiguous here.
But that did not save him as it was just a matter of time and Hezbollah pulled him down from the pinnacle. Today all Arabs and islamists all over the world know what the trouble in the Middle East is and yet continue to pursue shadows - because no one can speak the truth or he be guilty of blasphemy. If they do not preach the jihad and religion of hate against their neighbors; if they say make peace with Israel; if they try to recognize Israel's right to statehood in the Middle East - that is blasphemy. If they do not know how to settle their difference because any attempt to correct an error in the book is regarded as blasphemy, how can they live in peace?

Now that it has become clearer that it is a question of practice not of principle, can a man of peace arise in the region – a wise man from the east – and correct those errors established in HATE so that peoples of the region can live in peace with themselves and with others? 2014 should see the errors of the past relegated to the past so that peace can move forward. The trouble in the whole world has root in the Middle East. Some say it is because of the issue between Israel and Palestine, but we know better than that – it is for the HATRED between shi'ite and sunni islam. Others are normal labor matters of which the Middle East region has its fair share thereof too.

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