ISIL claims suicide bombings in southern Beirut | Everyday in Ukraine | Everyday in Ukraine
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has claimed responsibility for two suicide bombings that killed at least 43 people and injured more than 200 others in a predominantly Shia residential area of southern Beirut.
«Soldiers of the Caliphate» detonated explosives planted on a motorbike in an area frequented by Shias, according to the statement allegedly posted by ISIL, which was published a few hours after Thursday’s blasts.
«After the apostates gathered in the area, one of the knights of martyrdom detonated his explosive belt in the midst of them,» it added.
The statement followed the usual format of ISIL claims of responsibility and was circulated on online accounts close to the armed group.
The explosions took place in the Burj el-Barajneh area, located off a main highway leading to Beirut’s airport.
Burj el-Barajneh, a well-known commercial and residential area famous for its shops and coffee shops, suffered extensive damage from the two blasts.
The bombings came at a busy time in the evening when the streets were full of families gathering after work.
The health ministry and the Lebanese army said that the body of a third suicide bomber was found at the scene of the attack.
One of the suicide bombers blew himself up at the gates of a school, according to the Lebanese minister of education, Elias Bou Saab.
«Schools and universities will be closed tomorrow in solidarity with those killed in today’s explosions,» he told local media.
Witnesses said that there were only minutes between the two blasts.
«I was standing outside my store with my friend when the first explosion happened,» one resident, who was injured in the explosion, told Al Jazeera.
«He was martyred in the explosion. As I was trying to move him, the second explosion happened.»
Much of southern Beirut is a Hezbollah stronghold and witnessed a string of deadly suicide explosions in 2014 claimed by al-Qaeda affiliates.
In a statement after the attack, Hezbollah vowed to continue its fight against «terrorists».
«What happened here is a crime … this battle against terrorists will continue and it is a long war between us,» Hussein Khalil, an assistant to the group’s leader, said from the site of the explosions.
Kamel Wazne, a Lebanese political analyst, told Al Jazeera that the bombings came at a time when major offences were taking place in Syria against the ISIL and al-Nusra in Syria.
«This is probably just to remind Hezbollah there are other [groups] who can take revenge … It might be, again, the beginning of a circle of violence for Beirut.»
Source: Al Jazeera
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