A large explosion at a parking lot near a Hizbullah religious center in Beirut's southern suburbs on Tuesday caused casualties and extensive damage.Hizbullah's al-Manar TV said the blast that was caused by a booby-trapped vehicle went off near Islamic Cooperation Center in the area of Bir al-Abed.Initial reports said 30 people were injured in the explosion.Ambulances and fire engines, their sirens wailing, raced to the area and witnesses said casualties were rushed to the nearby Bahman and Rasoul al-Atham hospitals. People were seen running in the street away from the site of the explosion which set dozens of cars on fire.The force of the blast shattered windows and caused serious damages to several nearby residential buildings, including cracks in their walls.Explosives experts and military police later inspected the area. The initial investigation revealed that the booby-trapped vehicle is a Renault Rapid.Some Syrian rebel groups have threatened to strike in Lebanon after Hizbullah joined Syrian President Bashar Assad's troops in their battle against opposition fighters.But Hizbullah MP Ali Ammar told al-Manar that the blast was carried out by the supporters of the so-called American-Israeli project.There attack “bears Israeli fingerprints,” he said as he inspected the damage."This is a message, but we will not bow," said Ziad Waked, a municipal official speaking to al-Manar.Caretaker Interior Minister Marwan Charbel, who also inspected the scene along with acting Internal Security Forces chief Brig. Gen. Ibrahim Basbous, condemned the blast saying it was “an attempt to create Sunni-Shiite strife.”But he stressed that neither sect would be dragged into discord, he said.
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