BEIRUT (Reuters) – Sunni Muslims took to the streets and burned tires across Lebanon in protest against the killing of senior intelligence official Wissam al-Hassan in a car bomb on Friday, witnesses said.Protesters, infuriated by the death of the prominent Sunni, blocked roads in the eastern Bekaa valley region, the northern area of Akkar, neighborhoods of the capital Beirut and in the southern city of Sidon. Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – a member of an offshoot of Shi’ite Islam – of being behind the huge car bomb which killed Hassan and at least seven other people in central Beirut on Friday. The attack has brought the violence in neighboring Syria to the Lebanese capital, confirming fears that the conflict is infecting the surrounding region.


Sunni Muslim protesters burn tires and block street in Beirut as they protest against kiling Senior Lebanese intelligence official al-Hassan



Firefighters extinguish fire at the scene of an explosion in Ashrafieh, central Beirut



People react as Lebanese policemen secure the scene of an explosion in Ashrafieh in Central Beirut



Raw: Car bomb rips through East Beirut



Members of civil defence and Lebanese civilians carry an injured man after an explosion



Lebanese Red Cross and civil defence personnel work at site of explosion in the Ashafriyeh


Lebanon’s religious communities are divided between those supporting Assad and those backing the rebels trying to overthrow him.

In the coastal city of Tripoli, gunshots could be heard from the district of Bab al-Tabbaneh, a Sunni area.

Gunmen there have occasionally clashed with rivals in neighboring Jebel Mohsen, an area full of Alawites, the sect that counts Assad as a member.

Witnesses in two districts of Beirut said enraged protesters had started attacking passing cars.

(Reporting by Mariam Karouny in Beirut and Nazih Saddiq in Tripoli; Editing by Andrew Heavens)