Lebanese people gather at the site of a car bomb between the Bir el-Abed and Roueiss neighbourhoods, in the southern suburb of Beirut yesterday,
BEIRUT: A huge car bomb blast killed at least 18 people yesterday in a Beirut bastion of Lebanon’s Shia group Hezbollah, a military backer of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad.
Company of Aisha Umm Al Muminin, a previously unknown group believed to be a Syrian rebel cell, said it carried out the attack.
The Lebanese Red Cross said at least 18 people were killed and 245 wounded in the attack in an area between the Bir Al Abed and Rweiss neighbourhoods of southern Beirut.
The bombing caused heavy damage to buildings and set several cars ablaze.
The blast came a day after Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said his militant group was taking steps to ensure the security of the southern suburbs, after a July 9 car bomb in Bir Al Abed left dozens wounded.
A witness told a Lebanese television channel that he saw a van drive past three times before its driver found a parking spot where he set off the blast.
“Terrorism has struck the southern suburbs again,” said Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television, adding that the group was “paying the price for its position”.
Shortly after news of the attack broke, an online video surfaced showing three masked men in front of a white flag inscribed with the Islamic profession of faith. “You, the pig Hassan Nasrallah, we send you our second powerful message because you haven’t understood yet,” said one member of the group.