6 dead, 129 injured in Beirut suicide bombings

Flames rise from the wreckage of cars following a bomb explosion in a outhern suburb of the capital Beirut on February 19, 2014. Twin bomb blasts appeared to target the Iranian cultural centre, and an AFP photographer at the scene said the blasts had occurred beyond a security checkpoint at the centre, close to the building. (AFP)

Two suicide car bombs targeted an Iranian cultural centre in Beirut Wednesday, killing six people in the latest attack linked to the conflict in neighbouring Syria.

The attack was quickly claimed by the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, a jihadist group inspired by Al Qaeda that previously claimed a double suicide bombing aimed at Iran's embassy in Beirut.

Jihadists have carried out a string of attacks in Lebanon targeting both Iran and the powerful Shiite movement Hezbollah, which provide vital support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime as it battles a Sunni-led rebellion.

The health ministry said six people were killed and 129 others wounded, with the army saying one of the cars was loaded with 90 kilos (200 pounds) of explosives and the other with 75 kilos.

According to official media, a policeman was among the dead.

The blasts in the capital's southern district of Bir Hassan sent a large plume of smoke over the area and caused widespread damage.

Emergency teams carried wounded people away from a charred street strewn with rubble, as local residents armed with fire extinguishers helped firefighters put out blazes.

The arms of a wounded man hung limply from the sides of a yellow stretcher as he was carried from the scene.

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