Qaeda-linked ISIS claims Beirut suicide blast

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Relatives mourn during the funeral of Malak Zahwa and her step-mother Iman Hijazi, who both died in a car bomb that targeted a Beirut's suburb the day before on January 3, 2014 in the southern Lebanese village of Majdal Silm. (Photo: AFP - Mahmoud Zayyat)

Published Saturday, January 4, 2014

A statement in the name of the al-Qaeda-linked militant group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility on Saturday for a suicide bombing in the Hezbollah stronghold of southern Beirut that killed at least four people two days ago.

The purported ISIS claim, which also warned of further attacks, came in an online statement responding to an offensive against the group by rival forces in northern Syria over the last two days in which dozens of people have been killed.

The statement said the fighting in Syria had been launched at a time when ISIS had "breached the borders and penetrated the security system of the Party of Satan in Lebanon," in reference to Hezbollah, whose name means Party of God in Arabic.

ISIS said it had "struck its stronghold in the so-called security zone in southern suburbs of Beirut on Thursday ... in the first small installment of a heavy account that awaits these shameless criminals."

If confirmed, it would be the first time that ISIS had claimed responsibility for an attack in Beirut, which has suffered a wave of bombings since last summer, mostly targeting civilians in the southern suburbs of Beirut whose residents mostly support Hezbollah.

Two suicide bombers struck the Iranian embassy in southern Beirut in November in an attack claimed by the al-Qaeda-linked Abdullah Azzam Brigades, whose leader died in a Lebanese military hospital on Saturday.

The army said Thursday's attack had been carried out by a suicide bomber identified through DNA tests as Koteiba Mohammed al-Satem, a 19-year-old from university student from Wadi Khaled in North Lebanon close to the Syrian border.

"The DNA test results on the remains of a suicide attacker found in the car used in the bomb attack... confirm they belong to the youth Koteiba al-Satem," the army statement read.

"Investigations are ongoing by the relevant judicial authorities to uncover the full details of the event," it added.

Suspicions over the young man's role were raised after his identity card was found at the scene of the blast.

(Reuters, AFP, Al-Akhbar)


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