Explosion hits Beirut's southern suburbs -witnesses, TV

by Reuters
Tuesday, 21 January 2014 09:25 GMT

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BEIRUT, Jan 21 (Reuters) - An explosion rocked Beirut's southern suburbs on Tuesday, witnesses and local media said, hitting a Hezbollah stronghold that has been the repeated target of car bomb attacks in recent months.

Images broadcast on the Shi'ite Muslim militant movement's Al Manar channel showed flames erupting from a building and a large plume of smoke billowing over a street near the charred remains of cars as a crowd gathered at the site of the blast.

There were no immediate reports on the number of casualties and the cause of the blast was not immediately clear.

Al Manar reported that the explosion occurred in the Haret Hreik area, which was the target of a car bomb attack earlier this month that killed at least five people.

Tensions from the war in neighbouring Syria have increasingly spilled over into Lebanon.

The politically powerful Hezbollah has sent fighters and advisers into Syria to help its ally President Bashar al-Assad, a member of the Shi'ite-derived Alawite minority, in his fight against mainly Sunni rebels. Hezbollah-run areas in Lebanon have been targeted by a string of rocket and bomb attacks in recent months claimed by hardline Sunni militants. (Reporting by Alexander Dziadosz and Stephen Kalin; Writing by Alexander Dziadosz; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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