08/16/2013, 00.00
Send to a friend

Day of mourning after anti-Hizbollah attack in Beirut

So far, 22 people are confirmed dead and more than 300 wounded. After Lebanon's president blames Israel, the government is more cautious. A previously unknown group, the Battalion of Ayesha, claims responsibility, slamming Hizbollah for its alliance with the Syrian regime. Criticism also falls on Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Beirut (AsiaNews) - The Lebanese government declared a national day of mourning today after a car bomb blew up yesterday in a Hizbollah stronghold, south of the capital Beirut, killing 22 with seven missing, including a man and three children. The Red Cross reported 325 people wounded, but the final toll is not yet in.

The blast occurred in the densely populated district of Ruwais, a stronghold of Shia-dominated Hizbollah. For some observers, the attack was the worst of its kind in a Hizbollah-controlled area in 30 years. It was so big that it devastated nearby buildings, many bodies beyond recognition.

Investigators are now on the site of the attack, whilst security officials are meeting with President Michel Sleiman.

The government said that all lines of inquiry are being pursued, but the Lebanese president said the blast bore Israel's fingerprint. His Israeli counterpart, Shimon Peres, denied any responsibility.

Hizbollah has many enemies, especially after it publicly backed Syria's Bashar Assad in his fight against the Sunni-dominated Free Syrian Army and Sunni fundamentalists who want to topple the Syrian president.

Local residents blame Saudi Arabia for the attack. The Saudis supply weapons to the Syrian rebels.

A previously unknown group, the Battalion of Ayesha, claimed responsibility for the attack. After accusing Hizbollah of meddling in Syrian affairs and acting as an Iranian proxy, it pledged further attacks.

On 9 July, a booby-trapped car exploded at a parking lot in Bir al-Abed, leaving 53 people wounded and causing extensive material damage.

In May, two rockets slammed into the Beirut southern suburb of Shiyyah, wounding four people.

Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Egypt to boycott Damascus meeting
Beirut: mystery surrounds the murder of anti-Hizbollah leader Chatah
Muslim intellectual calls for prayer with pope for peace in Syria
Pro-Assad Syrian official killed by gunmen in Lebanon
Hizbollah's help to Assad increases the danger of Syria conflict spilling over into Lebanon


Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”