A bomb went off Sunday evening outside a branch of the BLOM Bank in Beirut’s Verdun area, injuring two people.

The powerful explosion was heard across the western part of the capital.

 the Lebanese Red Cross said later that two people were injured, one of them lightly.

The explosion occurred few minutes after residents sat down for iftar, the meal that breaks the daylong fast for observing Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan, when the streets in predominantly Muslim areas like Verdun are usually empty.

“The explosive device was placed in a flower container outside the BLOM Bank and it is estimated to weigh around 15 kilograms,” Internal Security Forces chief Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Basbous said after inspecting the scene.He also reassured that the army and security forces are “taking strict security measures to protect all touristic and economic sites across Lebanon.”

BLOM bank has been criticized by some pro-Hizbullah politicians for taking a hard-line position after Lebanese banks began abiding by a U.S. law that sanctions doing business with the Iran-backed Lebanese group. Authorities say dozens of bank accounts related to Hizbullah’s organizations have been closed in recent weeks.

The AFP correspondent also saw damaged cars near the scene of the blast before an army patrol arrived and kept reporters back.

Source  Naharnet  Agence France Presse   Associated Press Photo by Ruters