Beirut Car Bomb Kills 20 Near Hezbollah Complex

Melissa Stusinski - Author
By

Aug. 15 2013, Updated 12:00 p.m. ET

At least 20 people were killed in a Beirut car bombing near a Hezbollah complex, according to the Lebanese Interior Ministry. While 20 people were killed, at least 200 people were injured in the blast.

The incident happened on Thursday between the Bir el-Abed and Roueiss neighborhoods and caught buildings and cars nearby on fire. It also sent a column of thick, black smoke over the area.

Hezbollah is an active Shia political party in Lebanon and has become increasingly involved in the conflict plaguing Lebanon’s neighbor, Syria, reports Al Jazeera.

The group’s television channel showed footage of firemen helping rescue residents who had been trapped by the blast. They also showed people in crowds in a panic and rage as they gathered by the site of the blast.

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Friday was declared a day of national mourning in light of the Beirut car bombing. Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati also called on the Higher Defense Council to hold a meeting.

Aisha Umm-al Moumeneen, a so-far unknown Syrian Sunni group, claimed responsibility for the attack. Reuters notes that the name also means the Brigades of Aisha. The claim of responsibility was made in an internet video, which also promised more actions against Hezbollah.

The twisted remains of a large van were seen at the heart of the explosion site, along with the charred bodies of drivers and passengers still inside nearby cars.

The statement of responsibility added that it was “the second time that we decide the time and place of the battle.” The group added that, “you will see more, God willing.”

The Hezbollah complex where the bombing happened is the same site where the group’s leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah often addressed his followers. Aisha Umm-al Moumeneen explained that the leader is “an agent of Iran and Israel and we promise him more and more [attacks].”

Hezbollah has seen several threats from groups linked to Syria’s opposition forces. The bombing was likely a sign of more spillover from the Syrian conflict.

[Image via ShutterStock]

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