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Suicide bomber wounds two south of Beirut

By AFP - Feb 03,2014 - Last updated at Feb 03,2014

BEIRUT — A suicide bomber detonated an explosive belt inside a minibus south of the Lebanese capital Beirut on Monday, wounding two people, medical and government officials said.

“A man wearing an explosive belt boarded a public minibus in Choueifat and blew himself up,” Interior Minister Marwan Charbel told Lebanon’s Mayadeen television channel.

The blast is the fifth to hit Lebanon this year, and comes after at least four people were killed on Saturday in a suicide bombing in the eastern town of Hermel.

Footage from the scene broadcast on television showed the mangled remains of a vehicle surrounded by shards of glass and other objects strewn across the road.

Red Cross communications director Ayad Monzer told AFP: “The bomber was killed, and two others were injured — a man, who is in critical condition, and a woman with moderate injuries.”

Ali Mcheik said on LBC television that his brother was the man injured in the blast and had been driving the bus.

“When the bomber got on, he noticed that his stomach area looked bulky and asked him about it, then the bomber detonated his explosives,” he said.

He told the channel that his brother Hussein Mcheik was undergoing surgery in a nearby hospital after surviving the attack. 

Choueifat lies south of Beirut, not far from the suburbs of the city, which have been targeted in multiple bomb attacks in past months.

It is home to a mixed Christian and Druze population.

Previous blasts have largely targeted areas sympathetic to Lebanon’s powerful Shiite group Hizbollah, which has dispatched fighters to battle alongside the Syrian regime against a Sunni-dominated uprising.

Jihadist groups believed to be linked to those fighting in Syria have claimed responsibility for most of the attacks, saying they will continue for as long as Hizbollah battles in Syria.

But while the attacks have apparently targeted Hizbollah, the victims have been civilians.

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