BBC, AL JAZEERA, NEW YORK TIMES
BEIRUT - A previously unknown Sunni group has claimed responsibility for Thursday's car-bomb explosion in a southern Beirut neighborhood, one of Lebanon's bloodiest attacks in recent memory and the clearest sign to date that the conflict in neighboring Syria is crossing the border.
As the death toll climbed to 22, with 290 wounded, the New York Times called it the worst attack in Lebanon in eight years.
A group called Aysha Umm-al Mouemeneen posted a video on the web shortly after the attack, showing three masked men, two of them with rifles, in front of a white flag inscribed with the Islamic profession of faith.
One of the men said: "We send a message to Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah's pigs." According to Al Jazeera, Hezbollah, an ally of the Syrian regime, had been receiving threats from some groups linked to the Syrian opposition.
The car-bomb explosion struck in the suburb neighborhood of Ruwaiss, in the south of Beirut, near a facility used by Hezbollah to deliver speeches to their supporters.
According to the BBC, the bomb appeared to have gone off between two residential buildings. It was followed by chaotic scenes of buildings and cars caught on fire and ambulances and fire engines cramming into a narrow road.
Lebanon's caretaker prime minister Najib Mikati declared Friday a national day of mourning and called the Higher Defense Council to hold a meeting.
[rebelmouse-image 27087299 alt="""" original_size="500x500" expand=1]
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah - Photo: Iftikh