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A car bomb blast ripped through a bus carrying soldiers in northern Lebanon on Monday, killing at least five people and wounding 28, security sources said.

They said at least three soldiers were among those killed in the explosion in the Buhsas area at the southern entrance to the city of Tripoli during the morning rush hour.

Lebanese troops cordoned off the scene of the blast and ambulances ferried casualties to hospitals.

The blast hurled the mangled remains of the explosive-laden car several meters away, shattered windows of nearby buildings and damaged several cars.

Local politicians denounced the attack, saying it targeted the army.

"This is a direct targeting of the military institution," former Prime Minister Najib Mikati told a local radio station.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack.

Six weeks ago a bomb blast hit a bus in the city, killing 15 people including 10 soldiers.

The blast on Monday came two days after massive car bomb struck a crowded residential street in the Syrian capital of Damascus on Saturday, killing 17 people and injuring 14 others.

The official news agency SANA and state television said the weekend attack was carried out by a suicide bomber.

According to the report, the attacker belonged to a Muslim extremist group and that the car crossed into Syria from a neighboring Arab country a day before Saturday's bombing.

SANA says authorities are conducting DNA tests to identify the attacker and that several people have been detained in connection with the attack.

The car bomb near a Syrian security complex on the southern outskirts of Damascus was the biggest - and deadliest - in Syria since the 1980s.

A car packed with 200 kilograms of explosives blew up in a neighborhood near the junction to the city's international airport, shattering car and apartment windows, Syrian TV reported.

The charred booby-trapped car was seen sitting in the street near a primary school as firefighters stood near a wide crater believed to be caused by the blast.

A witness told the Syrian Reform Party that the blast happened after the car pulled out of a car depot belonging to the Palestine Branch, a group that is part of Syrian Intelligence. Sources have said the car was fitted with the explosives while inside the depot, leading to speculation the explosion was a 'work accident.'

The Syrian Reform Party reported on their website that most of those killed in the bombing were intelligence officals, contrary to government claims that all of the casualties were civilian.