Skip to main content

Car bomb rips through southern Beirut neighborhood

By Ed Payne and Nada Husseini, CNN
updated 7:55 AM EDT, Wed July 10, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 53 people are injured, Lebanon's health minister reports
  • The blast targets a Hezbollah stronghold in a southern Beirut suburb
  • The blast damaged buildings in the Bir El Abed neighborhood

Beirut, Lebanon (CNN) -- A car bomb rocked a stronghold of the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah on Tuesday morning, injuring dozens of people in a southern suburb of the capital.

Fifty-three people were hurt in the blast in the Bir El Abed neighborhood, Lebanese Health Minister Ali Hassan Khalil told Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV. Thirteen of them remained hospitalized Tuesday afternoon in stable condition, he said.

The blast erupted in a parking lot near the Islamic Cooperation Centre, a supermarket, the National News Agency reported. Video from the scene broadcast on Al-Manar showed vehicles ablaze, black smoke billowing aloft.

Fire crews doused the flames as authorities kept the crowds back. The explosion affected the lower floors of surrounding buildings, blowing out windows and damaging balconies, NNA reported.

Beirut fears more attacks are coming
Blast rocks strife-torn Beirut

Witnesses said that crowds hurled bottles at the interior minister, Marwan Charbel, as he was touring the site, and he fled.

Syria's conflict stirs up old rivalries in Lebanon

Many of the injuries were minor, caused by glass debris, said Ali Krayyem, director general of Bahman Hospital, where many of the wounded were taken.

Tensions have risen in recent months as thousands of fighters from the militant Shiite group Hezbollah have poured across the border into Syria and thousands of Syrian refugees have fled into Lebanon.

With Hezbollah's support, forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad have regained momentum in his country's civil war. Recently they retook what had been a rebel stronghold, the city of Qusayr, which is located on a major supply route close to the Lebanese border.

While that has helped turn the tide for Hezbollah's patrons, it has also angered many in Lebanon.

Among those are Sunni Islamists, whose calls for Hezbollah to be stopped have grown in volume and number in recent days.

Sectarian violence has been a growing concern as many Lebanese support al-Assad's embattled regime, while others do not.

A big worry is that Syria's troubles will reopen the wounds of Lebanon's civil war, which raged from 1975-1990, potentially pitting the Sunni community, which tends to back the Syrian rebels, against Hezbollah, a powerful pro-Assad Shiite militia.

This comes as evidence emerges that Syrian rebel groups are receiving small arms smuggled from Lebanon and Turkey.

In April, the Lebanese army announced it had intercepted a cargo ship bound for Tripoli -- the northern epicenter of support for Syrian rebels in Lebanon -- that was filled with weapons it believes were meant to be delivered to rebel forces in Syria.

CNN's Nada Husseini and Mohammed Jamjoom reported from Beirut, with Ed Payne and Tom Watkins reporting and writing in Atlanta. CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq and Lonzo Cook also contributed to this report

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 5:45 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
Pakistan Taliban say the school attack was revenge for the killing of children in a military offensive -- but they are being pressed by defections to ISIS.
A group that claims it hacked Sony Pictures has posted a public threat against moviegoers who see Sony's "The Interview."
updated 9:43 PM EST, Wed December 17, 2014
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
updated 4:48 AM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
updated 3:27 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
updated 9:12 PM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
updated 7:12 PM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
A social media campaign condemning Islamophobia under the hashtag #illridewithyou has taken off after Sydney hostage siege.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
updated 6:44 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
China-bound AirAsia flight turns back to Bangkok after passenger throws water over crew member.
updated 5:26 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
It takes Nepalese eye doctor, Sanduk Ruit about five minutes to change someone's life.
updated 5:54 AM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
This epic journey crosses 13,000 kilometers, eight countries over 21 days. Find out where.
updated 9:16 AM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT