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Two car-bomb blasts kill eight near Iranian Cultural Center in Beirut

Feb. 19, 2014 at 10:39 AM

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Two car bombings targeting the Iranian Cultural Center in Beirut killed at least eight people, including the bombers, Wednesday, security officials said.

Officials said the attacks targeted Iranian interests in the Bir Hasan area, a commercial and residential neighborhood that is home to the Iranian Embassy and several television stations, the (Beirut) Daily Star reported.

A security source confirmed to the Daily Star the explosions were caused by car bombs that went off seconds apart. The first blast detonated in a candy store and the second went off near the nearby Iranian Cultural Center.

Among the dead were a soldier and the two suicide bombers, the Daily Star said.

Officials said 128 people were wounded, several critically.

Al-Manar Television reported the soldier was suspicious of one of the bombers and stopped his vehicle. The bomber then detonated the explosives.

Several buildings and vehicles parked near the explosion sites were damaged, police said.

The Abdullah Azzam Brigades, which has links to al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for the deadly explosions, calling them a "raid" against the center in retaliation to Hezbollah and Tehran's role in the Syrian war.

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