Four civilians in Beirut were killed and the chauffeur of a U.S. Embassy vehicle was lightly wounded after an explosion ripped through traffic on a road in the Lebanese capital. Edward Yeranian reports for VOA from Beirut.
Ambulances and Lebanese firefighters rushed to the scene of the explosion, that may have been targeting an armored U.S. Embassy vehicle, causing a number of civilian casualties and tearing through at least 20 vehicles in rush hour traffic.
Lebanese police and army troops quickly closed off the area along a main thoroughfare in the northern Beirut neighborhood of Qarantina, as firefighters doused several burning cars. Chunks of concrete and other rubble was strewn across the roadway.
U.S. Embassy security personnel appeared on the scene to survey the damage the bomb caused to a reddish-gold embassy four-wheel drive vehicle, which appeared to be armored, limiting the severity of damage or injuries to those inside.
Lebanon's LBC TV initially reported that one American was slightly wounded in the blast and taken to Jeitawi Hospital in East Beirut, but the U.S. Embassy's Press Attache' Cherie Lenzen says that no Americans were wounded. "No employees of the embassy were injured," said Lenzen.
A roadside explosion, targeting Irish peacekeepers from the United Nations peacekeeping force UNIFIL, left two wounded one week ago, on Lebanon's coastal highway.
Just more than a month ago, on December 12, a roadside explosion in the Beirut suburb of Ba'abda also killed a top Lebanese Army officer, General Francois Hajj, who was a leading candidate to be the country's next army commander.
Nine top political figures and journalists have been assassinated in Lebanon since 2005.
Members of parliament from the anti-Syrian March 14 coalition have accused Syria of being responsible for most of those killings. Syria denies the charges.