Four suicide bombers came from Syria, Lebanese Interior Minister says

Some of the suicide bombers who carried out the attacks on a Christian border village in eastern Lebanon this week came from Syria, Interior Minister Nouhad Mashnouk said on Tuesday.

"Primary investigations indicated that four of the eight suicide bombers came from Syria and not from refugee camps inside Lebanon," he told reporters Tuesday while touring the village of al-Qaa.

The mainly Christian village was targeted on Monday by eight suicide attacks that left five locals dead and dozens others wounded. 

High-ranking security officials who met late Tuesday warned that their information indicated the bombings could be the start of "a wave of terrorist attacks."

"The attack, which targeted the town of al-Qaa constitutes a shift in the war against terrorist organizations," a statement issued after the security meeting said.

The officials called on citizens to exercise "utmost awareness and vigilance" and warned against "any form of autonomous security" - an apparent reference to television footage showing al-Qaa residents patrolling the streets with machine guns.   

Al-Qaa lies on a main road which links the area with the Syrian town of al-Qusayr.

Al-Qaa's 3,000 residents are mainly Christians, but the nearby district of Masharia al-Qaa is mostly inhabited by Sunni Muslims and some 25,000 Syrian refugees who live in a makeshift camp at the edge of the village.

The Lebanese army said in a statement that its troops raided makeshift refugee camps in the areas of Bekaa and the Baalbeck region in eastern Lebanon, rounding up some 103 Syrian refugees who were present on Lebanese territories without legal papers.

Lebanon hosts some 1.2 million Syrian refugees who live in informal camps scattered mainly across the east and north of the country.

The Lebanese government, in the meantime, called on all citizens not to give in to panic and to embrace the legitimate armed forces.

"The cabinet will maintain a state of readiness, declaring that all governmental agencies will be in a state of full alertness to confront the current situation," it said after an emergency meeting. 

Last update: Tue, 28/06/2016 - 22:32


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