Nine killed in eastern Lebanon suicide bombings

Four suicide attacks in a mainly Christian area in eastern Lebanon left at least nine people dead and several wounded on Monday, police and a witness said.

Four assailants were among the dead in the attacks that took place in the village of al-Qaa, a mainly Christian area, in the Bekaa valley along the border with Syria, police said.

The state-run Lebanese News Agency reported that the area was hit by four bombings. It was unclear who carried out the attacks. Hezbollah-run Al Manar TV blamed Islamic State militants.

Around 15 people were wounded, four of them in serious condition, said George Katteneh, the head of the Lebanese Red Cross.

Lebanese soldiers were among the wounded, police said.

"One of the suicide bombers blew himself up first near a house in the village, and the second [did the same] as people were gathering to see what happened," villager Mansour Saad told dpa.

The army said that the first explosion took place at dawn. Three more explosions followed near the area of the first attack.

A security source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told dpa that the four bombers were passing through the village and that their destination was other villages controlled by Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shiite movement.

In November, a twin suicide bombing claimed by a group affiliated with Islamic State, left at least 43 people dead and injured more than 240 in Burj al-Barajneh, a Shiite suburb of Beirut.

Beirut's southern suburbs and some areas in eastern Lebanon, which are Hezbollah strongholds, were targeted by deadly bombings in 2013 and 2014.

Monday's attacks were thought to be retaliation by extremist Syrian rebel groups over Hezbollah's support for the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Hezbollah has been fighting alongside al-Assad's forces since the Syrian uprising started in 2011.

Al-Qaa is one of several border posts separating Lebanon and war-torn Syria.

Last update: Mon, 27/06/2016 - 12:52
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