Twin suicide blasts kill 43 in Hezbollah area in Beirut

Date:23/08/1394
Twin suicide bombings rocked a busy shopping street Thursday in a Beirut stronghold of Lebanon's Shiite movement Hezbollah, killing 43 people and wounding more than 239 in the worst such attack in years.
Twin suicide bombings rocked a busy shopping street Thursday in a Beirut stronghold of Lebanon's Shiite movement Hezbollah, killing 43 people and wounding more than 239 in the worst such attack in years.
Health Minister Wael Abou Faour, speaking from the scene on a street of shops where vendors also sell from stalls, said many of the injured were in serious condition.
The army said the body of a "third terrorist" was found at the scene of one of the blasts after he apparently failed to blow himself up.
The attacks were the deadliest to hit a Hezbollah stronghold since the group entered the conflict in neighbouring Syria in 2013 in support of President Bashar al-Assad.
A string of them targeted areas where the group is popular throughout 2013 and 2014. In the most recent one in the southern suburbs of Beirut in June of last year, a suicide car bomb killed a security officer.
Police said two men on foot set off suicide vests Thursday in Burj al-Barajneh, a largely impoverished suburb of the city home to a mostly Shiite Muslim population.
The neighbourhood is bordered by the Burj al-Barajneh Palestinian refugee camp.
There was blood on the streets, and security forces were trying to cordon off the scene and keep people from gathering.
Local television stations showed footage of wounded people being carried away by emergency services and civilians.
"I'd just arrived at the shops when the blast went off. I carried four bodies with my own hands, three women and a man, a friend of mine," a man who gave his name as Zein al-Abideen Khaddam told local television.
- 'Thought world ended' -
Another described the sound of the blasts.
"When the second blast went off, I thought the world had ended," he said.
The wounded were evacuated to several hospitals in the area, including the Bahman hospital in neighbouring Haret Hreik.
"We've received dozens of wounded people and they're continuing to arrive," a doctor there said.
Prime Minister Tammam Salam announced a national day of mourning for Friday, local media reported.
And former premier Saad Hariri, who leads a political bloc opposed to Hezbollah and its allies, condemned the blast as "vile and unjustified".
Between July 2013 and February 2014, there were nine attacks on Hezbollah throughout Lebanon, mostly claimed by ISIS extremist group.
Despite ostensibly targeting Hezbollah, the victims of the attacks have been overwhelmingly civilians.
The deadliest in southern Beirut was in 2013, when 27 people were killed by a car bomb in the Rweiss district.