|Car bomb kills five in south Beirut||
A car bomb killed at least five people in Hezbollah's stronghold in south Beirut on Thursday, the latest in a series of deadly attacks on Shia and Sunni targets in Lebanon.
Several other cars were destroyed by the force of the blast, the blackened and twisted wreckage smoldering on the street in front of buildings whose facades were torn off by the explosion.
Health Minister Ali Hassan Khalil said five people were killed and 66 wounded. A security source said the blast was caused by a car bomb.
People at the scene said that in addition to the five confirmed dead, the charred remains of a body was found on Thursday evening. A security source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the body was that of a suicide bomber.
The explosion occurred less than a week after former finance minister Mohamad Chatah was killed along with six others by a car bomb in Beirut.
Last summer, bombs exploded in south Beirut and outside two mosques in the northern city of Tripoli, killing scores of people. Bombers also struck Iran’s embassy in southern Beirut in November.
The violence has been fuelled by sectarian tensions over the conflict in neighboring Syria, where Assad is fighting Sunni Muslim rebels battling to overthrow him.
Hezbollah appeals for unity
Meanwhile, Hezbollah appealed for national unity among the Lebanese after the bombing in southern Beirut, according to Al-Alam.
Sheikh Naim Qassem, the deputy secretary general of the Lebanese resistance movement, on Thursday called for “political understanding and the quick formation of a national unity cabinet” to avoid the destruction of Lebanon.
“The criminal bombing that occurred in Dahieh today is part of a series and we cannot tackle it as a separate or extraordinary act,” Qassem said, adding, “The bombing targeted ordinary people and not Hezbollah.”
“Hezbollah will not trade accusations and will not respond to the allegations,” he stated.
Earlier in the day, Lebanese President Michel Sleiman said the terrorists behind the bombing are those who have committed crimes recently in other parts of the country.
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