Blast hits Lebanese bank headquarters, one injured

A huge explosion hit the Beirut headquarters of one of Lebanon's main banks on Sunday, a public holiday, but police said only one person suffered minor injuries from broken glass.

The blast appeared to have been caused by a 15-kilogram bomb left in a suitcase in a flowerbed beside the BLOM bank headquarters, a senior police officer on the scene told dpa.

Television pictures from the scene showed smashed windows and damage to the facade of the bank building.

Troops sealed off the area, near the upscale Verdun shopping district, after the explosion.

There appeared to have been few passersby at the time of the blast. Sunday is part of the weekend in Lebanon and the bomb went off at the time Muslims were breaking their Ramadan fast.

In November, two suicide bombings claimed by the Islamic State extremist organization killed 43 people in Beirut's southern suburbs, a stronghold of the Shiite Hezbollah movement.

The southern suburbs were also hit by deadly bombings in 2013 and 2014, thought to be retaliation from extremist Syrian rebel groups for Hezbollah's support for the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Lebanon's Daily Star newspaper on Friday reported that Hezbollah's parliamentary bloc sharply criticized Central Bank governor Riad Salameh over steps against bank accounts linked to the pro-Iranian movement.

Salameh had told US television channel CNBC that 100 bank accounts had been frozen in compliance with US sanctions on Hezbollah, which Washington has categorized as a terrorist organization.

Last update: Sun, 12/06/2016 - 21:47
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