25 killed in Beirut suicide bombings

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- At least 25 people were killed and dozens more wounded in two explosions near the Iranian Embassy in Beirut early Tuesday, Lebanese security officials said.

Sources told The Daily Star two explosions, minutes apart, occurred near the Iranian Embassy in the predominantly Shiite neighborhood of Bir Hassan in southern Beirut, considered a Hezbollah stronghold.


Al-Qaida linked Abdallah Azzam Brigades claimed responsibility, the Star said.

In addition to the 25 fatalities, more than 150 people were injured, the report said.

Iranian cultural attache Ebrahim Ansari, two Iranian nationals and a child were among those killed, the Star said. Two embassy guards were injured, al-Maydeen television said.

Iranian Ambassador Ghazanfar Roknabadi accused Israel of the bombings, the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported. He said one of the bombs exploded at the entrance to the embassy and another near the ambassador's residence.

The explosions are believed to have been caused by two suicide bombers, one on a motorcycle, the other in a car, sources told the Star.

At least three buildings surrounding the embassy were damaged and cars set afire.


Initial reports said two rockets were fired near the embassy building, however, sources later told the Star a crater caused by one of the blasts indicated a bomb was used and estimated it contained more than 220 pounds of explosives.

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