Explosion Rocks Beirut, Five Dead

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CBNNews.com -- A car bomb exploded in a Christian neighborhood of Beirut on Friday killing at least five people and wounding at least 20 others.

Local authorities reported that the dead included a senior police intelligence official who dealt with terrorist bombings. Authorities said he had previously been targeted twice by militants.

Watch CBN News Terror Analyst Erick Stakelbeck talk more about the situation in Lebanon.

Lebanon's national police chief said the police official was an engineer who was handling "very important" files, including all those having to do with the terrorist bombings in Lebanon.

The police official's bodyguard and three or four civilians were also killed. The Lebanese Red Cross said four people were killed and 20 wounded, according to the state-run National News Agency.

Television footage showed a huge plume of black smoke rising from street and flames shooting up into the sky.

Witnesses described the scene of the explosion. Several cars were on fire in a blackened area some 20 yards wide, near a highway overpass. Firefighters were called to put out the fires. In addition, dozens of vehicles were also damaged in a nearby parking lot.

Lebanon has been in a deepening 14-month political crisis. The country has been had to endure by a series of terrorist attacks, including political assassinations in recent months.

Syria has been blamed as being behind many of the bombings, but it has denied any role.

The police intelligence department is close to the Lebanese government's anti-Syrian majority. The department has been frequently criticized by the pro-Syrian opposition.

Friday's blast came a day after a labor strike that was largely peaceful. The attack came just ten days after a car bomb aimed at a U.S. Embassy car killed three bystanders.

It was the second attack against the police intelligence department in less than two years.

Source: Associated Press

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