The Islamic State (ISIS) has claimed credit for the bombing in Beirut, Lebanon on Thursday night that killed at least 44 and wounded over 239 more.
The army reported that two men wearing explosive vests blew themselves up and the body of a third was found with his vest still intact. The attack was carried out at 6:00 pm local time on a busy street in the southern suburb of Burj al-Barajneh, a stronghold of the Hezbollah movement. Associated Press reported that the first bomber detonated his explosive vest outside a Shia mosque, while the second blew himself up inside a nearby bakery. It is believed that the third bomber was killed by the second blast before he could detonate his vest. An ISIS statement identified the bombers as two Palestinians and a Syrian.
— Agence France-Presse (@AFP) November 13, 2015
It is believed the attacks were carried out by ISIS in revenge for Hezbollah sending troops into Syria in recent weeks to help Syrian President Bashar Assad. Hezbollah accused IS of targeting innocent civilians. “It was a Satanic terrorist attack,” Hezbollah official Bilal Farhat told the Associated Press.
It is the first attack in more than a year and the worst bombing in Lebanon since the civil war ended in 1990.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged Lebanon’s security services and state institutions “not to allow this despicable act to destroy the relative calm that has prevailed in the country over the past year.”
Prime Minister Tammam Salam declared a national day of mourning on Friday.