BEIRUT: An explosion in a parking lot in the Antelias district north of Beirut Thursday killed two people and wounded one, sources told The Daily Star.
The explosion occurred in a parking lot near Esso gas station on the inner Antelias road, in the Metn province, at 11.30 a.m. local time, security sources told The Daily Star.
The two men who died in the explosion had been in possession of the explosive device at the time of its detonation.
Explosives experts said one of the men, Ihsan Ali Dia, had been in a crouching position at the time of the blast. His left leg and right arm were severed in the blast and he later died of his wounds at hospital.
The second man, Hassan Nayef Nassar, suffered a heart attack at the scene and also died later in hospital.
Pierre Nohra, a bystander who had been leaving the parking lot as the explosion went off, suffered minor wounds, security sources said.
A car registered to Judge Albert Serhal – judicial license plate number 29592 – had been in the parking lot where the blast took place, security sources said.
Serhal told security sources that he did not believe he was the target of the attack and said his son Alain Albert Serhal frequently used the car – a Nissan Murano – to go to work at the Hajj Center, using the nearby parking lot where the explosion took place.
Dia, security sources said, hailed from Bazourieh village, near the southern city of Tyre.
Shortly after the explosion went off, security forces sealed the area and brought in bomb-sniffing dogs.
An investigation into the incident is under way.
Metn MP Ibrahim Kanaan, who visited the crime scene shortly after the incident, emphasized that evidence needed to be preserved in order to ascertain the identity of the perpetrators and said the act could be a message aimed at the Lebanese state.
“Security and legal sides should be filling us in with details of this operation within hours. This act targets the peace and a secure area and maybe even targets judicial [officials]. I do not want to pre-empt the investigation but if it is the case then this could be a message aimed at all the Lebanese state with all its institutions and a decisive stance is needed,” Kanaan told reporters.
“We will follow up on this matter, which concerns us at all levels … The chances of uncovering the details of this crime are much better than [in] others given that the culprits were victims in the attack,” the Free Patriotic Movement official added.