08/16/2017, 09.42
LEBANON - BURKINA FASO
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Three Lebanese among the 18 victims of the terrorist attack on Turkish restaurant in Ouagadougou

Nabih Berri condemns the attack and expresses "condolences and sorrow" to the relatives of the victims. The attack is latest in a long streak of blood to hit West Africa. Terrorists target economic interests and activities of foreigners operating in the region.

Beirut (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Three Lebanese citizens are among the 18 victims - at least eight foreigners - of the terrorist attack on a Turkish restaurant on 14 August in Burkina Faso. Confirmation has arrived from the top leaders in Beirut, who published the names of their fellow countrymen killed. They are Ahmed al-Beli, Mohsen Fneish and his wife of Canadian origin who was pregnant at the time of the attack.

Lebanese Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri condemned the attack and expressed "condolences and sorrow" to families "of the victims of all nationalists and, in particular, of Lebanese" who had emigrated "in search of decent work and life 'abroad". He then once again called for a "global fight" on terrorism co-ordinated by the United Nations.

The three Lebanese citizens were killed during clashes between terrorists and security forces in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. In a note, the Beirut Foreign Ministry stresses that it has activated "all procedures" to "return the bodies of the dead to Lebanon".

The attack on Turkish restaurant Aziz Istanbul on August 14 is just the latest in a long streak of bloody attacks to hit the West African region. Jihadist militia target foreigners and the locals who work for them.

So far there are no official claims. The attackers hit when the venue was crowded by customers looking to watch football matches on television. The local security forces launched a counterattack to stop terrorists, triggering a shootout in the adjacent area that lasted until the morning.

There were two victims among the assailants while five security agents were among the 22 injured.

Aziz Istanbul is located not far from the Cappuccino cafe where in January 2016 an al Qaeda in the Maghreb (Aqim) attack caused 71 injured, largely foreigners. In December dozens of soldiers were killed in an assault on a military base in the north of the country. Since 2015, there has been no news of an Australian and a Romanian kidnapped in Burkina Faso by al-Qaeda affiliated Islamist group extremists.

According to witnesses, the assailants arrived in a pick-up. Local witnesses say they were "very young" and armed with AK47s. There are seven local people, two Kuwait citizens, one Frenchman and one Turkish citizen among those killed. Three other people are still awaiting identification.

For Sean Smith, an analyst and expert in Africa, the attack on the restaurant is a proof that "the threat of terror stems heavily from the Sahel region." Although most of the violence is concentrated along the northern border with Mali, the assault on the Turkish restaurant "shows that Islamic matrix extremists can also hit the capital at their own pace." Attackers main targets are foreign economic interests and citizens.

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