A powerful car bomb exploded near an Armenian Orthodox church in Beirut's Christian suburb of Antelias on Friday, killing four people and wounding 22.

Police said the blast, the second car bombing in the northern suburb in 10 days, could have caused higher casualties if it hadn't been not for the Good Friday holiday, which reduced the number of people in the area.No group immediately claimed responsibility for the 9 a.m. explosion, which was seen as a major challenge to efforts by President Elias Hrawi's government to end the nation's nearly 16 years of civil strife.