Smoke rises from the site of an explosion in the Haret Hreik area in the southern suburbs of the Lebanese capital Beirut January 21, 2014. Image Credit: REUTERS

Beirut: The Al Nusra Front in Lebanon, believed to be a franchise of the Syrian Al Qaida-linked group, on Tuesday claimed a bomb attack in Beirut that killed at least four people.

“With the help of God almighty we have responded to the massacres carried out by the party of Iran [Hezbollah] ... with a martyrdom operation in their backyard in the southern [Beirut] suburbs,” the group said in a statement posted on their Twitter account.

“Four people are dead, and there are 35 injured,” Red Cross communications director Ayad Al Monzer said.

“Body parts apparently belonging to a suicide bomber were at the scene,” it said.

The attack took place on a busy commercial street in the Haret Hreik neighbourhood in southern Beirut.

“The explosion took place on Al Arid street in Haret Hreik,” Hezbollah’s Al Manar news station reported.

The street was targeted by a suicide car bombing in early January.

An AFP photographer at the scene saw troops and Hezbollah security men deployed as firemen worked to put out the flames and health workers transported the injured to nearby hospitals.

The blast is the sixth in a string targeting areas considered strongholds of Hezbollah since the group announced it was sending fighters to support President Bashar Al Assad’s troops in neighbouring Syria.

And it is the third to hit the group’s strongholds in a month.

Less than a week ago, a car bomb exploded in Hermel, a town in the eastern Bekaa Valley, killing three people.

And on January 2, a suicide car bombing hit the street targeted on Tuesday, Al Arid in southern Beirut, killing five people.

The Hermel attack was also claimed by Al Nusra Front in Lebanon.

The earlier attack against the southern suburbs was claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

Al Nusra Front is Al Qaida’s official arm in Syria, and Isil has its roots in Al Qaida in Iraq.

Lebanon has suffered a spike in violence since the war in Syria broke out, with the frequency of attacks rising in recent weeks.