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Bomb explodes north of Beirut; 2 killed

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BEIRUT — A bomb went off in a north Beirut suburb Thursday, killing two people and damaging several cars, including one belonging to a judge, security officials said.

It was not immediately clear if the bomb in the busy suburb of Antelias went off by mistake or whether it had a timer, the security officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity, in line with regulations.

The explosion in a parking lot damaged at least four cars, including one with judicial license plates, the officials said.

The officials said they do not believe the judge was the target since his car has been recently used by his son, an engineer.

One of the two men reportedly handling the bomb died almost immediately, while another was seriously wounded and died later in hospital, security officials said.

The man who was seriously wounded appeared to have been laying on the ground when the bomb exploded, tearing off his right arm and left leg, the officials said. It was not clear if he was placing the bomb under the car or trying to throw it away, the officials said.

Shortly after the explosion went off, security forces sealed the area and brought in bomb sniffing dogs.

Such explosions are not uncommon in Lebanon but there have been no targeted killings in the past three years.

Last month, a roadside bomb blew up next to a United Nations convoy carrying French peacekeepers in south Lebanon, wounding at least five of them.

The last person to be assassinated in Lebanon was police Maj. Wissam Eid, who was one of the country's top terrorism investigators. He was killed along with several other people in a car bomb in 2008.

Bassem Mroue can be reached at http://twitter.com/bmroue