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Syrian opposition blames regime for Beirut bombing Lebanese teenager dies of injuries

BEIRUT, Dec 28, (AFP): A key member of the Syrian opposition has accused the Damascus regime and its allies Iran and Hezbollah of being behind a bomb attack that killed a Lebanese politician in Beirut. The powerful car bomb in the heart of the Lebanese capital on Friday killed six people, including Mohammad Chatah, a leading critic of Syrian President Bashar al- Assad’s regime. “The murderers... are the same ones that kill and continue to kill Syrians in Qusayr, Qalamoun, Ghouta, Aleppo, Homs and Idlib,” said the Syrian National Council (SNC), the largest member of the umbrella National Coalition opposition grouping. “They are undoubtedly the alliance between the Iranian and Syrian regimes and their agents in Lebanon led by the sectarian and fanatical militia Hezbollah,” the SNC said in a statement issued overnight. Hezbollah, a powerful Shiite movement, has sent troops to back the Assad regime in its war with rebels who have been fighting to oust his regime since a deadly crackdown on democracy protests in 2011. “This bloody alliance... proves every day that it is the main source of terrorism and extremism which threatens the security and stability of the region,” said the SNC. Chatah, 62, was killed in Friday’s blast as he headed to a meeting of Lebanon’s Westernbacked March 14 coalition that has supported the Sunni Muslimled rebels in Syria.

Lebanese state media said more than 50 people were wounded and over 10 buildings badly damaged in the bombing, which officials said was caused by 50-60 kilograms (110-132 pounds) of explosives. March 14 implied Damascus and Hezbollah were behind the attack without naming them, saying “the criminal is the same, he who is thirsty for the blood of Syrians... he and his Lebanese allies”. Hezbollah said the attack was aimed at destroying “national unity”. The Syrian conflict has cost an estimated 126,000 lives and displaced millions of people since it broke out in March 2011.

Meanwhile, a Lebanese teenager seen posing for a group “selfie” in front of a bomb-laden car moments before it exploded in the capital Beirut died of his injuries on Saturday. “The number of victims from the attack rose to seven after the death of young Mohammad al- Chaar this morning, succumbing to his injuries at the American Hospital in Beirut,” said Lebanon’s official NNA news agency. Following Friday’s bombing in the heart of Beirut, AFP photographers saw the 16-year-old lying on the pavement, his head bloodied, before he was taken to hospital with severe injuries. Chaar had been identified online as one of four youths seen posing in a group selfie posted on social media networks in front of the car that exploded moments later. The picture went viral on the Internet, and the confirmation of his death sparked an outpouring of tributes on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter.

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