Explosion rocks Blom Bank headquarters in Beirut

A bomb has exploded in Beirut outside the headquarters of the Lebanese Blom Bank, inflicting heavy material damage but no deaths.

Two people were slightly injured in the attack, which occurred in the upmarket Verdun area in the center of the Lebanese capital on Sunday.

The explosion took place at 8pm, a time when many were at home breaking their Ramadan fast for the day.

Although there was no immediate claim of responsibility, there has been speculation of the attack being linked to Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia group.

The Lebanese banking sector has been at the center of an escalating crisis since the United States passed a law requiring banks to take steps to target the finances of the group.

“Politically, it is clear that the target was Blom Bank only,” Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk told Reuters news agency. Lebanon decided to apply the controversial Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act, passed in the US in December.

The law threatens sanctions and account closures against individuals who are found to finance Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia group.

Blom Bank has recently been involved in shutting accounts linked to Hezbollah, according to local media.

The US classifies Hezbollah as a “terrorist group”, despite it being strongly supported by the Lebanese Shia community.Its members include government ministers, legislators and local councilors.

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