“There’s large scale destruction, there’s blood on the ground here on the scene. It’s not a pretty sight,” said Salhani, adding that the attack occurred, “outside the Iranian Embassy, which is surrounded by residential buildings, as most embassies are in Beirut. Many of the buildings here have their windows knocked out, you can see water spraying out of buildings and glass all over the ground.”
The al Qaeda-linked Abdullah Azzam Brigades claimed responsibility for the double suicide attacks.
In a Twitter post in Arabic, the group’s spiritual guide Sheikh Sirajeddine Zureiqat, said the “double martyrdom operation” was carried out by “two Sunni heroes of Lebanon”. A later Twitter posting warned that the group will continue its operations in Lebanon until Hezbollah pulls its fighters out of Syria.
Security camera footage showed a man rushing toward the outer wall of the Iranian Embassy before detonating a belt packed with explosives. The second explosion was caused by a car bomb, said Lebanese security officials.
There were conflicting reports about whether the victims of the attack included Iran’s cultural attaché to Lebanon, Sheikh Ebrahim Ansari. Earlier Tuesday, Iran’s ambassador told the Associated Press that Ansari had succumbed to wounds sustained in the bombings.
But in an interview with Iranian state TV later Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said Ansari was critically wounded and showing “signs of life”.
Shiite-dominated neighbourhoods of Beirut have been targeted in the past few months with car bombs and rockets in what Syrian rebels say is retaliation for Hezbollah’s involvement in the Syrian civil war.
Hezbollah fighters in Syria have been supporting forces loyal to Assad, who hails from the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shia Islam.
via Deadly blasts target Iranian embassy in Beirut – LEBANON – FRANCE 24.