A massive car bomb exploded in Central Beiruit today, killing at least eight people in an attack that may be tied to the growing strife over the situation in Syria. No one has claimed responsibility for the blast that blew up several other cars parked in a narrow street and wounded dozen of bystanders. Several eyewitness were on the scene recording and posting numerous images of the carnage, some which you can see at Beruit.com. (Fair Warning: A few of the pictures are bloody and quite graphic.)
According to Al Arabiya, the street where the bomb went off is home to the offices of the Christian Phalange party, which is an anti-Palestinian and anti-Syrian political and military group. They were on the opposite side of Hezbollah (which was backed by the regime of Bashar al-Assad's father) during the long-running Lebanese civil war. Hezbollah has been accused of sending fighters to assist Assad's army during his current civil war, which has also led to Syrian refugees fleeing into Lebanon. The fighting in Syria has already spilled over into the northen city of Tripoli and now threatens an uneasy truce in the nation's capital.
This was the first car bombing inside Beirut since 2008.
Update: Wissam al-Hassan, described as a "top security official" in the Lebanese government was killed in today's blast. He was a Sunni official who was leading an investigation of a Syrian plot to carry out bombings inside Lebanon. It seems he may have been the target of the bombing.
The death toll remains at 8, with 78 injured.
Wissam al-Hassan is/was perhaps the main Saudi/Hariri ally in Lebanese govt. Killing him could be a game-changer in Lebanon. Yikes.— DavidKenner (@DavidKenner) October 19, 2012
Photo via Chady Abou Jaoude (@Chadyaj) on Twitter