Blast in Beirut Kills at Least Five

The Lebanese capital has been hit by a wave of bomb attacks, including one last week that killed a Hizballah critic.

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Flames rise from burning cars at the site of a car bomb that targeted Beirut's southern suburb of Haret Hreik on Jan. 2, 2014.

An explosion in a southern Beirut suburb that is considered a Hizballah stronghold killed at least five people on Thursday, extending a wave of deadly blasts in the Lebanese capital.

The explosion, a few hundred yards from the political offices of Hizballah, injured 20 others, the Associated Press reports. A Lebanese security official told the AP that it appeared to be a car bomb, though the cause has not been confirmed.

The city has been hit with a series of bomb attacks amid an intensifying showdown that has spilled over from Syria’s two-and-a-half-year civil war. Hizballah, a Shi‘ite militant group that has significant influence in Lebanese politics, has sent fighters to support the government of President Bashar Assad.

“This is a conversation carried out through bombs,” Benedetta Berti, co-author of Hezbollah and Hamas: A Comparative Studytold TIME last week.

Last week, a car bomb killed a former minister and ambassador to the U.S. Mohamad Chatah, a Sunni politician and outspoken critic of Hizballah. In November, a suicide bomber at the embassy of Iran — a Hizballah backer — killed 23 people.