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Blasts kill at least 23 near Iran embassy in Beirut

Nov. 19, 2013 11:29 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 19, 2013 12:06 P.M.)
BEIRUT (AFP) -- A powerful blast in Beirut killed at least 23 people on Monday outside the Iranian embassy in the southern suburbs of the Lebanese capital, police and security sources told AFP.

The explosion occurred in a residential neighborhood of Bir Hassan, a largely Shiite neighborhood and close by to the locations of two bombings that targeted southern Beirut earlier this year.

The Zahraa hospital nearby told AFP that it had received the bodies of five people and was treating at least 35 others for wounds.

Lebanese media broadcast harrowing images from the scene of the blast, with charred bodies on a street lined by blazing cars and strewn with the rubble.

Cars and trees were blackened, and men hurriedly carried the wounded away from the scene on stretchers.

Hezbollah, which is fighting alongside the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in war-hit Syria, has seen its strongholds in southern Beirut targeted twice by car bombs this year.

The blasts, on July 9 and August 15, killed 27 people.

Tensions in Lebanon over the conflict in Syria have been rising, with Hezbollah's involvement criticized by many Sunni Lebanese who back the Sunni-dominated uprising against Assad.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report.
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