A booby-trapped car exploded at a parking lot near the Islamic Cooperation Center commercial cooperative in the Beirut southern suburb of Bir al-Abed on Tuesday, leaving 53 people wounded and causing extensive material damage.
The caretaker Health Minister, Ali Hassan Khalil, said 53 people were wounded. But 41 of them were discharged and the rest were being treated for non serious injuries.
Ambulances and fire engines, their sirens wailing, raced to the area and witnesses said casualties were rushed to the nearby Bahman and Rasoul al-Atham hospitals. People were seen running in the street away from the site of the explosion which set dozens of cars on fire.
The force of the blast shattered windows and caused serious damages to several nearby residential buildings, including cracks in their walls.
State Commissioner to the Military Court Judge Saqr Saqr tasked military police and forensic experts with carrying out the preliminary investigation, which said the explosives were packed in a Renault Rapid or a Nissan four-wheeler.
An army command statement said the military was probing the attack to find the perpetrators.
Some Syrian rebel groups have threatened to strike in Lebanon after Hizbullah joined Syrian President Bashar Assad's troops in their battle against opposition fighters.
But Hizbullah MP Ali Ammar told al-Manar that the blast was carried out by the supporters of the so-called American-Israeli project.
There attack “bears Israeli fingerprints,” he said as he inspected the damage.
"This is a message, but we will not bow," said Ziad Waked, a municipal official speaking to al-Manar.
Caretaker Interior Minister Marwan Charbel, who also inspected the scene along with acting Internal Security Forces chief Brig. Gen. Ibrahim Basbous, condemned the blast saying it was “an attempt to create Sunni-Shiite strife.”
But he stressed that neither sect would be dragged into discord, he said.
In May, two rockets slammed into a Hizbullah stronghold in south Beirut, wounding four people. The rockets struck hours after Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah vowed in a speech to help propel Assad to victory in Syria's civil war.
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