Twin suicide blasts in Shiite Beirut suburb kill at least 43

Published: Friday 13th November 2015 by The News Editor

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At least 43 people were killed when two suicide bombings targeted a Beirut suburb that is a stronghold of the militant Shiite Hezbollah group.

Scores more were injured in one of the deadliest attacks in recent years in Lebanon.

The attack was quickly claimed by the extremist Islamic State group, which is fighting in neighbouring Syria and Iraq but has not had a recognised affiliate in Lebanon.

The explosions hit minutes apart during rush hour in an area of southern Beirut called Burj al-Barajneh, a Hezbollah stronghold.

The Shiite group has been fighting in Syria along with Syrian president Bashar Assad’s forces. The area has been hit in the past and Sunni militant groups have threatened to carry out more attacks there.

Along with the 43 killed, the bombings also wounded 239 people, the health ministry announced.

It was not immediately clear how many attackers were involved. According to a Lebanese security official, the first suicide attacker detonated his explosives’ vest outside a Shiite mosque, while the second blew himself up inside a nearby bakery.

An apparent third attacker was found dead, his legs blown off while he still wore an intact explosives’ belt, said the official.

The official speculated that the third man may have been killed from the explosion set off by the second bomber, as he was reportedly close to that blast.

At the scene of the blasts, residents showed reporters what they said were metal pebbles that are usually put inside an explosive belt to inflict maximum casualties.

“They targeted civilians, worshippers, unarmed people, women and elderly, they only targeted innocent people,” Hezbollah official Bilal Farhat told The Associated Press, calling it a “satanic, terrorist attack”.

Hospitals in southern Beirut called on people to donate blood and appealed on residents not to gather at hospital gates so that ambulances and emergency staff could work unhindered.

For more than an hour, ambulances struggled to ferry the wounded and the dead from the neighbourhood.

Lebanese troops and Hezbollah gunmen cordoned off the area, preventing anyone from getting close to the site of the two blasts, less than 50 yards apart.

Published: Friday 13th November 2015 by The News Editor

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