( 4UMF NEWS ) Car Bomb Kills Eight:
A car bomb ripped through eastern Beirut on Friday, killing at least eight people, shearing the balconies off apartment buildings and sending bloodied residents staggering into the streets in the most serious blast the Lebanese capital has seen in more than four years.
Dozens of people were wounded in the attack. While the motive was not immediately known, many Lebanese quickly raised the possibility it was connected to the civil war in neighboring Syria.
Tensions have already been rising in Lebanon over the war, and clashes have erupted between supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad and backers of the rebellion against his regime. The office of an anti-Syrian Christian political party is located near the site of Friday’s bombing, though it was not immediately clear if it was the intended target.
The blast ripped through a narrow street at mid-afternoon in Beirut’s mainly Christian Achrafieh neighborhood, an area packed with cafes and shops. The street was transformed into a swath of rubble, twisted metal and charred vehicles.
Bloodied residents fled their homes while others tried to help the seriously wounded. One little girl, apparently unconscious and bleeding from her head, was carried to an ambulance in the arms of rescue workers, her white sneakers stained with blood.
“I was standing nearby in Sassine Square and I heard a big explosion and I ran straight to it,” resident Elie Khalil told The Associated Press. He said he saw at least 15 bloodied people in a nearby parking lot before medics arrived and took them to a hospital.
Lebanese security officials and Red Cross workers said eight people were killed and 60 wounded, 20 of them critically. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to talk to the press.
The state-run National News Agency put the number of wounded at 78.