Bomb exploded in central Beirut on Sunday

A bomb exploded in central Beirut on Sunday behind a branch of the Lebanese Blom Bank, causing damage to the building but with no immediate reports of casualties, security sources and witnesses said.

Smoke rose from the Verdun area of Beirut after the blast was heard.

A security source said the bomb was made with 2 kilograms (4.4 lb) of explosives.

Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk told a local radio station there were no casualties.

“Thank God, there were no injuries,” he said.

The last bomb attack to hit the Lebanese capital killed more than 40 people in the southern suburbs, an area where the Shi’ite Muslim Hezbollah group is dominant. The bombing was claimed by the Sunni Islamic State.

Machnouk was quoted by local media as saying Sunday’s bombing was “without any relation to previous bombings”, without elaborating.

A security source said the bomb had contained 2 kg (4 lb) of explosives.

Machnouk said it had been left in a bag by the back wall of the building.

“Politically it is clear that target was Blom Bank only,” he said, adding that the attack had nothing to do with the militant group Islamic State, which has mounted suicide bombings in Beirut. Machnouk said initial reports indicated there had been no fatalities.

The last bomb attack to hit the Lebanese capital killed more than 40 people in the southern suburbs, an area where the Shi’ite Muslim Hezbollah group is dominant. That bombing was claimed by the Sunni Muslim Islamic State.

Blom Bank has closed a number of bank accounts belonging to people suspected of links to Hezbollah to comply with a U.S. act targeting the Shi’ite group’s finances, Lebanese officials have said.

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