Tuesday, November 19, 2013

At least 25 killed in attack on Iranian embassy in Beirut

Two suicide bombers blew themselves up outside the Iranian embassy in Beirut's southern suburbs Tuesday morning, killing at least 25 people and wounding about 150, in a brazen attack claimed by an al-Qaeda-linked group.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.
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. But he later announced that Iran's cultural attaché, Sheikh Ibrahim al-Ansari, who was on his way to work, was killed in the attack. All other victims appeared to be passers-by. Security sources said among the 25 victims were also an Iranian civilian and a Lebanese who was employed at the embassy. Five Iranians, including embassy guards and a nurse were wounded in the bombings, according to the sources who spoke to The Daily Star on condition of anonymity.
TV Footage showed several corpses strewn across the ground, some of them on fire, 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.

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