NEW: 18 killed, 291 wounded, state news says
The army says a car bomb caused the blast
An unknown group claims responsibility in a YouTube video
The area is a Hezbollah stronghold
Lebanese authorities Friday raised the death toll from a car bombing the day earlier, saying at least 22 people were killed and hundreds injured in a southern suburb of Beirut.
At least 228 others were injured in the terrorist attack, the Lebanese Internal Security Forces said.
Video shown on Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV showed fierce flames engulfing several cars in the Beirut suburb. Thick, black smoke rose from the vehicles; a nearby building also appeared to be on fire. Ambulances were rushing to the site of the blast, NNA reported.
“Army units arrived immediately at the scene, enforcing a security zone within the area of explosion while military experts initiated investigations under the concerned judiciary’s surveillance,” the army said.
After Thursday’s blast, a YouTube video surfaced in which three masked men holding weapons claimed they are part of a group responsible for the attack. They stood before a large Arabic sign containing the Islamic creed, “There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is the messenger of Allah.”
The group, which calls itself the Brigade of Aisha, Mother of Believers, accused Hezbollah of being aggressors. Aisha, the last wife of the Prophet Mohammed, is especially revered by Sunni Muslims.
In its YouTube post, the group called Nasrallah a “pig” and said he works on behalf of Iran and Israel.
“A message: To our brothers and sisters in Lebanon: Stay away from anything to do with Iran – whether in Beirut or outside Beirut,” it said.
Hezbollah is a Shiite movement in Lebanon. Along with Shiite-dominated Iran, the group is helping Syria’s government fight rebels, whose ranks are dominated by Sunnis.
CNN could not confirm the authenticity of the video or the men’s claims. The U.S. Embassy in Beirut tweeted condemnations of the attack.
Civil defense units were trying to rescue some citizens stuck inside their homes due to the fire resulting from the blast, Lebanon’s National News Agency reported.
The explosion came about a month after a car bomb injured dozens of people in the pro-Hezbollah neighborhood of Bir El Abed in a southern Beirut suburb.
CNN’s Mohammed Jamjoom reported from Beirut, Lebanon. CNN’s Yasmin Amer reported from Atlanta.