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A top security official and seven others were killed by the worst car bombing in Beruit in four years.
The security official Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hassan was targeted in the blast which occurred around 3 p.m. Lebanese television announced his death a couple hours after the attack.
Al-Hassan recently led an investigation into Lebanon bombing campaigns closely related to warfare occurring in Syria. He was the head of intelligence division of Lebanon’s domestic security forces. Groups related to President Bashar al-Assad of Syria have been blamed for the terrorist attack.
Nadim Gemayel, senior member of the Phalange Party and a member of Parliament told the New York Times, “It is clear that the Syrian regime is responsible for such an explosion. It is such a big explosion that only the Syrian regime could have planned it.”
The explosion occurred in the capital’s Christian section, injuring 78 people says the state-run National News Agency.
The bombing is a reminder of the 1975-1991 Lebanon civil war and attacks 2005-2007 in which prominent leaders were targeted in similar attacks.
George Azzi who observed the bombing said to Washington Post reporters, “I’m worried that we’ll return to the events of the past, with random explosions all around the town for no reason.”
Charbel Khadra, a citizen in Beruit expressed similar concerns to the Associated Press saying, “I’m very worried about the country after this explosion. I’m worried the explosions will return-and this is just the first one.”
The last severe bombing to occur in Lebanon was in 2008 when a car bomb wounded 38 and killed four including an anti-terror police chief.
The bombers are unknown. An announcer on Al-Manar TV said, “The criminal behind the explosion is not yet known, and the party responsible is hidden in the chaos of the political struggle in the country.”