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Blast kills head of Lebanese internal intelligence

A car bomb explosion in the Lebanese capital Beirut has killed 10 people, including senior security official Wissam El Hassan and injured at least 90 more. The explosion targeting the convoy of Hassan, head of the Internal Security Forces' information branch, took place in a residential area of the city and is the first of its kind since 2008. The blast comes amid rising tensions in Lebanon as Syria's civil war moves ever closer to its neighbor and rifts increase between religious sects who are divided between those supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and those supporting the opposition. Hassan's assassination could have a great impact on Lebanon's future. The senior security official, himself a Sunni Muslim, was well known for being an enemy of the Shi'ite militant group Hezbollah who back Assad. He led an investigation into Hezbollah's alleged role in the 2005 assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri. Hassan was also anti-Syria, fearing overspill of the conflict and leading the arrest of Michel Samaha, a former Lebanese politician believed to have Syrian government ties, on charges of planning to detonate Syrian explosives in Lebanon. So far rifts between religious groups have been confined to small areas of Lebanon, being focused particularly in Tripoli where the Muslim Alawite minority lives among a Sunni Muslim majority. Fears persist that this attack on such a prominent figure could trigger violence throughout the country.
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