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Huge blast hits militia stronghold in Beirut, Lebanon

A bomb exploded in a stronghold of militia and political party Hezbollah in the Lebanese capital on Thursday. Many fear heightened sectarian tensions are reaching dangerous levels -- with no end in sight. ITV's Neil Connery reports.

BEIRUT, Lebanon -- A huge explosion killed at least four people in a stronghold of militia and political party Hezbollah in the Lebanese capital on Thursday, just days after a former minister and vocal critic of the Shiite group was himself killed in an explosion.  

Hasan Shaaban / Reuters

A wounded woman reacts as she is helped by a man at the site of an explosion in Beirut's southern suburbs.

According to the Red Cross, at least four people died and nine were wounded in the blast. More casualties are expected given the population density of the area, which is a southern suburb of the city.

Images on Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV showed smoke billowing at the site of the blast and firefighters putting out fires in cars.

A series of bombs have hit Lebanon in recent months as the war in Syria spills over into its smaller neighbor.

Mohammad Chatah, who was a former ambassador to the United States and an aide to former prime minister Saad Hariri, was killed on Friday by the explosion close to government headquarters in central Beirut. The blast also killed at least four others. 

Chatah was attending a meeting of senior leaders of the March 14 political party, which is staunchly opposed to the regime of Bashar Assad in Syria and critical Hezbollah inside of Lebanon.

NBC News' Brinley Bruton and The Associated Press contributed to this report.