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Lebanon: Beirut Car Bomb Kills 18 People

A powerful car bomb has exploded in Beirut, killing at least 18 least people and injuring more than 200.

The blast ripped through a busy street in the Lebanese capital's southern Rweiss district, trapping people in burning cars and houses.

Dozens of ambulances carried away the wounded as firefighters climbed ladders to reach those unable to leave their apartments.

At least 245 people were injured, the Lebanese Red Cross said.

Rweiss is a stronghold of the militant group Hizbollah, which has fought in Syria alongside President Bashar al Assad's forces.

Syrian-based rebels and militant Islamist groups have threatened to target Hizbollah because of its involvement in the conflict.

Ali Ammar, a spokesman for the organisation, claimed the blast was the work of terrorists and said Hizbollah's political rivals were responsible for creating an atmosphere that encourages such attacks.

The explosion - thought to be the deadliest in south Beirut in almost 30 years - is the second in Lebanon in as many months.

In July, a car bomb exploded in the nearby Beir al Abed district, wounding more than 50 people.

The latest blast was condemned by both Maura Connelly, the US ambassador to Lebanon, and Alistair Burt, the British Foreign Office Minister.

"Terrorism and extremism have no place in Lebanon," he said. "I call for the Lebanese state to investigate this urgently and bring the perpetrators to justice."