Death toll from Beirut car bomb, 22
Aug 16, 2013 / 6:37 am
Lebanese forensic experts collected evidence Friday at the scene of a massive explosion in a southern suburb of Beirut that killed 22 people and wounded more than 300, the deadliest blast in the area in nearly three decades.
Security officials said they were investigating the possibility that Thursday's blast in Hezbollah's bastion of support was carried out by a suicide bomber.
Lebanese troops cordoned the area of the explosion where more than a dozen charred cars were scattered on the street amid heavily damaged buildings, preventing residents and shop owners from entering.
Some residents vowed that such attacks will only strengthen their support of the militant Hezbollah group and its leader.
Thursday's car bomb struck a crowded street in the Rweiss district in Beirut's southern suburbs, an overwhelmingly Shiite area and stronghold of Hezbollah. The explosion sent a massive plume of black smoke billowing into the sky, set several cars and buildings ablaze and trapped dozens of residents in their homes for hours.
The explosion occurred about 100 metres (yards) away from the Sayyed al-Shuhada complex where Hezbollah usually holds rallies.
Thursday's blast came a day before Hezbollah's leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah was scheduled to give a speech marking the end of the monthlong 2006 war with Israel. Nasrallah was expected to address the explosion in the speech later Friday.
The bombing was the second in just more than a month to hit one of the Shiite group's bastions of support, and the deadliest since 1985 when a blast in the area killed 80 people. Many people in Lebanon see the attacks as retaliation for Hezbollah's armed support for President Bashar Assad in neighbouring Syria's civil war.
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