Saturday, November 14, 2015
At least 43 killed in bomb blasts in Shi'ite Beirout
At least 43 people were killed and more than 240 wounded on Thursday in two suicide bomb blasts claimed by Islamic State in a crowded residential district in Beirut's southern suburbs, a stronghold of Hezbollah.
The explosions came at time when the group is stepping up its involvement in the Syrian civil war and Hezbollah has sent hundreds of fighters to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces in the four-year-old conflict. Government forces backed by Hezbollah and Iranian troops have intensified their fight against mostly Sunni insurgents, including Islamic State, since Russia launched an air campaign in support of Assad on Sept. 30.
The blasts occurred almost simultaneously late on Thursday and struck a Shi'ite community center and a nearby bakery in the commercial and residential area of Bourj al-Barajneh, security sources said. A closely guarded Hezbollah-run hospital is also nearby.
Health Minister Wael Abu Faour said 43 people were killed and 240 people were wounded.
Islamic State said in a statement posted online by its supporters that its members blew up a bike loaded with explosives in Bourj al-Barajneh and that when onlookers gathered, a suicide bomber blew himself up among them. The group said the attacks killed 40 people. Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk said a third suicide bomber had been killed by one of the explosions before he could detonated his own bomb. His body was found nearby.