BEIRUT (AP) — A car bomb blew up Saturday near a gas station in a Shiite town in northeast Lebanon, killing at least three people, officials said.
The bomb was the second to hit the stown of Hermel, in the latest attack that appeared linked to the war in neighboring Syria. Lebanon's Red Crescent said three were killed and another 18 wounded. The organization initially reported that four people were killed, but later revised the number downwards.
Footage on al-Manar television, associated with the Shiite group Hezbollah, showed a bright orange blaze as black silhouettes of people ran by. Blasts could be heard in the background. Eyewitnesses said Lebanese security was surrounding the area and preventing people from reaching it.
The blast occurred near a school run by a charity group for impoverished children, some of them orphans. An official speaking on al-Manar said no children were injured. Lebanese groups backing different sides in Syria's sectarian civil war have carried out bombings and other attacks against each other.
Sunni militant groups have claimed responsibility for a relentless series of attacks on Shiite parts of Lebanon, including a bomb that exploded in Hermel in late January. They say it is in retaliation for the Shiite Hezbollah group sending its fighters into Syria's civil war to support forces of President Bashar Assad.
Lebanon's Sunni community has also been hit, most notably by a deadly double car bombing outside Sunni mosques in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli in August. A December car bombing in Beirut killed prominent Sunni politician Mohammed Chatah.
In a statement issued Saturday evening, the U.N. Security Council strongly condemned the attack and "underlined the need to bring perpetrators to justice."
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