Suicide blasts kill 23 outside Iranian embassy in Beirut

A Lebanese soldier helps evacuate a wounded man at the scene of a powerful blast in southern Beirut near the Iranian embassy on November 19, 2013. (Photo: AFP / STR)

Published Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Updated 3:20 pm: Two suicide bombers blew themselves up outside the Iranian embassy in Beirut's southern suburbs Tuesday morning, killing at least 23 people and wounding over 100, in a brazen attack claimed by an al-Qaeda-linked group.

It may have been the first suicide attack on a non-military installation in the history of Lebanon, which is struggling to contain a spat of Syria-related violence

Al Mayadeen TV said that security cameras showed the first suicide bomber charge the embassy on a motorcycle and blow himself up to clear the way for a second bomber, who detonated a car packed with explosives.

The Lebanese army confirmed that account in a statement carried by the National News Agency.

Iran's ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Roknabadi told the Beirut-based station that no one was killed inside the embassy, located in the densely populated neighborhood of Bir Hassan.

Roknabadi originally announced the death of Iran's cultural attache Sheikh Ibrahim al-Ansari in the attack, but later said he was still alive and undergoing emergency surgery. All other victims appeared to be passers-by.

Health Minister Ali Hassan Khalil put the casualty figures at 23 dead and 146 injured.

TV Footage showed several corpses strewn across the ground, some of them engulfed in flames, at the site of the explosions. An Al-Akhbar photographer said he witnessed charred bodies trapped inside burning vehicles.

Sirajeddin Zreikat, a member of the al-Qaeda-linked Abdullah Azzam Brigades, claimed responsibility for the suicide bombings on Twitter and threatened further attacks.

He wrote that his group "will continue operations in Lebanon" as long as Hezbollah forces remain in Syria, and demanded that Lebanon release all prisoners affiliated with the Salafi movement.

Thousands of Hezbollah soldiers are fighting alongside government forces against rebels in Syria, drawing reprisal attacks including car bombs and rockets on Shia regions of Lebanon.

Lebanon has witnessed dozens of car bombs over years marked by war and political tension, but this is the first time a suicide bomber targets civilians in the country.

The last suicide bombings in Lebanon were carried out by the Resistance against Israeli occupation forces in South Lebanon in the 1990s.

Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati condemned Tuesday's "cowardly terrorist act" aimed to stir tensions.

The explosions comes about three months after a series of car bombs targeted residential neighborhoods in the southern suburbs of Beirut, widely blamed on Salafi extremists with ties to Syria's al-Qaeda-linked rebels.

The most deadly of them killed 27 in Dahiyeh's Roueiss neighborhood on August 15.

A week later nearly 50 people were killed when two car bombs exploded outside mosques in Lebanon's northern city of Tripoli on August 23.

Hundreds of Lebanese security forces have been manning dozens of checkpoints at the entrances of, and inside, Dahiyeh since the summer attacks in a bid to fend off future attacks.

Bir Hassan is located just outside Dahiyeh.

The twin suicide blasts shattered windows on buildings in the Bir Hassan neighborhood on November 19, 2013. (Photo: AFP - Anwar Amro)

(Al-Akhbar)

Comments

That the true colour of Munafikeen. He can stand to fight man to man.
Shame to all wahhabis salafi.

“The agents of the Zionist entity Israel are behind the blasts,”

~ Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Rokn Abadi

How long will this charade of blaming Israel to give political cover to the KSA continue? It is the hatred and desperation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that funds and organizes the misery of MENA.

'Zionist Agent' is synonymous for 'Wahabi/Salafi'. The whole world knows their interests are the same, and they actively work together to achieve their desired goals.

Shame on Al-Qaeeda and all their support base. They practiaclly begged Hezbollah into Syria, but once they arrived and it was about fighting like men, Al Qaeeda decided to show the world their true colours...run away from the real battlefield and instead blow up innocent women and children in streets. What a bunch of cowards.

I disagree. The "whole world" does not know that their interests are the same in this case. The fact of the matter is that the term "The agents of the Zionist entity Israel are behind the blasts,” is not recognized as a term for 'Wahabi/Salafi' but as an direct accusation against Israel.

It would be far better that the perpetrators be recognized in name as 'Wahabi/Salafi'. Instead of immediately pointing the finger of blame a position of waiting for the investigation for facts would be much more productive and a lot less counterproductive for the reputation of "the Resistance".

The point is that while Israel and the 'Wahabi/Salafi' do share many of the same goals there are many goals that they do not share. It is important to differentiate the two as a matter of better public relations. The anti Resistance forces are not monolithic but they are portrayed as such.

The Resistance is discredited when it consistently blames this monolithic construction instead of defining the enemies of the resistance. The reaction I see in the West is that when this monolithic hypothesis is invoked the public just roles their eyes in disbelief and credibility is tarnished.

what a load of BS
re: " goals there are many goals that they do not share"
Do enlighten us . what are these goals?

Yes the whole WORLD knows that the two are hideous terrorist states

"It was widely announced that al-Qaida's Abdullah Azzam Brigades Majed al-Majed to attack Hizbullah, in cooperation with Saudi national Ahmed al-Suiedi that carried out the attacks."

These are not “The agents of the Zionist entity Israel are behind the blasts,” as announced by Ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Rokn Abadi. These are the agents of the KSA ...

The Resistence looks foolish when such contradictions take place. Iran looks like it is blind in hatred to the Israelis to the point that every attack is the work of Zionist agents ...

One does not take on all one's enemies at one time. The fact of the matter is that KSA Wahhabism is an immediate threat as we see in Yemen, Iraq, Syria. Lebanon, Libya and Tunesia. Israel is now being handled through diplomatic means and increasingly effective sanctions.

~The goal of the Israelis are to steal Palestine and if able push all Palestinians into Jordan and Egypt.

~The goal of the KSA is to establish Wahhabism as the official branch of Islam throughout MENA.

Announcing all major attacks as "Zionist and their agents" gives political cover to the KSA and other gulf states. "Zionists and their agents" means something completely different out side of MENA. This is very poor public relations and hurts the effort to halt Israeli aggression when used so loosely.

More of the poisoned fruit falling from the tree of "Wahhabi wisdom".

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