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Car Bomb Rips Through Lebanese Capital

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A massive car bomb exploded during rush hour in Beirut and killed at least eight people and wounded about 80 others.

The bomb exploded Friday near the office of the Christian Phalange Party headquarters. The group openly disapproves of the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Jeff Neumann, a reporter on the scene for VOA, talked to several people who saw or heard the blast.

"Another person was about a block away and they said at first they thought it was an earthquake. You know all the windows were blasted out. This is at a pharmacy across the street. I saw at least eight completely destroyed cars. There was concrete in the street, broken glass everywhere. Electrical wires were strewn across the street, and it was total chaos," reported Neumann.

Lebanese hospitals issued an urgent plea for blood donors to help treat the wounded.
Several feet from the blast, a construction site for one of Beirut's new luxury residential towers was converted into a makeshift Red Cross field hospital. A young female Red Cross worker at the scene said, "we just need people to donate blood."

The bombing comes at a time of escalating tensions in Lebanon as a result of the conflict in Syria.

Lebanon has seen a recent increase in violence related to the bloody Syrian civil war that has spilled over the border.

It is also a reminder of the days of high-profile political assassinations during Lebanon's civil war.

Former prime Minister Rafik Hariri was killed by a truck bomb attack on his convoy in Beirut in 2005.

Some people at the scene of Friday's bombing said they fear that the days of of attacks like that were back.

Two blocks from the blast site, a Phalange party headquarters now mostly serves as a 24-hour vigil to the one-time commander of the Christian Lebanese Forces militia, Bachir Gemayel. He was assassinated there by a bomb planted by Syrian loyalists in 1982, during the Lebanese Civil War.

Article by VOA News