Powerful car bomb kills 18 in south Beirut suburb
BEIRUT (AP) - A powerful car bomb tore through a bustling south Beirut neighbourhood that is a stronghold of Hizbollah on Thursday, killing at least 18 and trapping dozens of others in an inferno of burning cars and buildings in the bloodiest attack yet on Lebanese civilians linked to Syria's civil war.
The blast is the second in just over a month to hit one of the Shi'ite militant group's bastions of support, and the deadliest in decades. It raises the specter of a sharply divided Lebanon being pulled further into the conflict next door, which is being fought on increasingly sectarian lines pitting Sunnis against Shi'ites.
Syria-based Sunni rebels and militant Islamist groups fighting to topple Syria's President Bashar Assad have threatened to target Hizbollah strongholds in Lebanon in retaliation for intervening on behalf of his regime in the conflict.
Thursday's explosion ripped through a crowded, overwhelmingly Shi'ite area tightly controlled by Hizbollah, turning streets lined with vegetable markets, bakeries and shops into scenes of destruction.