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23 killed by suicide bombings in Beirut

CeasefireAt least 23 people are reported to have been killed by 2 suicide bombings that took place on Tuesday near the Iranian Embassy in Lebanon. According to Lebanese Health Minister Ali Hassan Khalil about 146 were wounded.

Lebanese officials are said to have security footage of an individual wearing a belt with explosives running towards the outer walls of the embassy compound. The second blast had been caused by a car bomb a few buildings away. The Lebanese army claims that both explosions are suicide attacks.

According to Reuters, the al Qaeda-linked group ‘Abdullah Azzam Brigades’ has already claimed responsibility for the occurrence, issuing a further threat of more attacks if Iran did not withdraw its forces from Syria. The Group’s religious guide Sheikh Sirajeddine Zuraiqat had tweeted that “It was a double martyrdom operation by two of the Sunni heroes of Lebanon.”

The double attacks on Tuesday are among the deadliest in a number of outbreaks that have taken place in recent months targeting supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Sources say that the explosions may also have been aimed at putting pressure on Iran before the talks that were to take place on Wednesday about Tehran’s nuclear program

Among those killed at the scene of the explosions was a diplomat named Ibrahim Ansari. According to a comment given by Iranian Ambassador Ghazanfar Roknabadi to Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV, the 54-year-old Iranian diplomat had taken up his post a month ago and had been overseeing regional cultural activities.

Recent large attacks on Hezbollah strongholds include two other car bombings that took place in the suburbs of southern Beirut – one in August killing 27 and wounding over 300, and another in July wounding over 50.

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