Bombings In Lebanon Linked To Civil War In Syria

Two suicide bombers blew themselves up outside the Iranian Embassy in Lebanon. According to Lebanon’s National News Agency, one of the blasts was caused by a suicide bomber in an SUV and the other was caused by a suicide bomber on a scooter. The Lebanese Health Ministry reported that at least 23 people died and 146 were injured.

According to media outlets citing Lebanon’s health minister, an Iranian diplomat has died in the attack. The state-run IRNA news agency and other media outlets had earlier reported that Iran’s cultural attache, Sheikh Ibrahim Al-Ansari, had not died but was in critical condition. However, those reports were later updated to say that he had died. The Iranian ambassador to Lebanon, Ghazanfar Roknabadi, also confirmed to Hezbollah TV that Al-Ansari was dead.

Two Iranian civilians who lived in a building close to the embassy are also among the dead. Lebanese Internal Security Forces said at least six buildings were damaged in the blasts. Pillars of black smoke and massive flames leaped into the sky as stunned witnesses looked on. Roknabadi told Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV that he had no doubt the embassy was the target of the two blasts, but, “We have no fear when it comes to giving more martyrs in the line of duties.”

Radical Sunni group Abdullah Azzam Brigades has claimed responsibility for the bombings. The group said that the bombings would continue until the Iran-supported Shiite group Hezbollah stops sending fighters to help Syrian government forces. Hezbollah is based in Lebanon. The group also demanded that all of its members being held in Lebanon be released.

NNA, the Lebanon news agency, reported that Lebanon’s acting prime minister, Najib Mikati, said the blasts were “a cowardly terrorist attack” and urged the Lebanese public “to exercise the utmost restraint because we are going through a very difficult phase.” Spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry Marzieh Afkham said, “Tehran will seriously follow up the criminal act with due consideration.”

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