A car bomb has struck a northeastern Lebanese town close to the Syrian border, with several people reported dead.

The bomb went off on Thursday in the centre of the predominantly Shia town of Hermel, in the Bekaa Valley, known as a stronghold of the Shia movement Hezbollah.

The mayor of Hermel told Al Jazeera that he believed the explosion was triggered by a suicide bomber in the town's main square. Three people were confirmed killed to Al Jazeera, and at least 22 injured.

Local channels, including Hezbollah's Al Manar, broadcast images of a large plume of smoke pouring up from a square and
the twisted wreckage of a car.

It was the latest in a wave of attacks to hit Lebanon in recent months as the civil war in Syria increasingly spills over into its smaller neighbour.

The violence has targeted both Sunni and Shia neighbourhoods, further stoking sectarian tensions that are already running high as each community in Lebanon lines up behind its brethren in Syria on opposing sides of the war.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies