Beirut blast killed Lebanese security officer

AFP , Tuesday 24 Jun 2014

Lebanon
Lebanese army soldiers secure a site of an explosion that occured on Monday night in the southern suburbs of the Lebanese capital Beirut June 24, 2014. (Photo:Reuters)

An overnight suicide blast in Beirut's southern suburbs, Hezbollah's main bastion, killed a security officer who had tried to stop the bomber, a Lebanese security source told AFP on Tuesday.

The explosion happened at around midnight local time (2100 GMT Monday) near an army checkpoint and a cafe where football fans were watching a World Cup match.

An army statement earlier said a suicide attacker driving a white Mercedes "blew himself up at an army checkpoint at the Tayuneh roundabout (in southern Beirut), wounding several civilians".

The official National News Agency reported 12 people wounded in the blast.

On Tuesday, a security source told AFP that a high-ranking General Security Agency officer whom the army had reported missing had "been martyred".

Remains were undergoing DNA testing to confirm that they were indeed those of Abdel Karim Hodroj, the source added.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the security source said Hodroj and his colleague Ali Jaber, who was wounded, "were passing through the area... They felt a vehicle that was going against the traffic flow was suspicious.

"Then vehicle stopped in the middle of the road, and a man got out. (Hodroj and his colleague) stopped him and questioned him. The man said his car key was broken, and he couldn't drive any more," the source said.

The driver's suspicious behaviour led Jaber to go to the nearby army checkpoint to report him.

"Hodroj remained with the suicide attacker to ensure he wouldn't get away," the security source said.

Jaber was 30 metres (yards) away when "the explosion happened".

The bombing came three days after a suicide attack in east Lebanon killed one person and wounded 30.

Southern Beirut, a stronghold of Lebanon's Shiite movement Hezbollah, has been targeted by attacks for months.

Most incidents were claimed by Sunni extremists because Hezbollah sent thousands of fighters into neighbouring Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad's forces battling rebels.

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