TRIPOLI, Lebanon, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- Several people were killed when a pair of suicide bombers detonated at a cafe in Tripoli, Lebanon, on Saturday, in the latest violence to spill over from Syria's civil war.
Nusra Front, a Syrian militant group linked to al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred at a packed coffee house called Cafe Omran in a predominantly Alawite neighborhood known as Jabal Mohsen.
Nusra Front said the "double martyrdom operation" targeted "nusayri," a derogatory term for Alawites. The group said it was "revenge for the Sunnis in Syria and Lebanon."
The attacks represent the first suicide bombings in Lebanon since June 2014, at a cafe in Beirut where several people had gathered to watch the World Cup.
The civil war in Syria has raged since 2011 and caused cross-border violence in neighboring Lebanon. The conflict has pitted Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad, against a largely fragmented Sunni insurgency that includes groups like Islamic State and Nusra Front. Al-Assad is an Alawite, a minority group in Syria that is linked to Shia Islam.
Shia powers in the region, such as Iran, have provided military assistance to Al-Assad, while Lebanese Shia militant group Hezbollah sent forces to assist the embattled Syrian army against Sunni rebel groups.
In Sept. 2014 Nusra Front executed a Lebanese soldier for Hezbollah's interference and for Lebanese army raids on Sunnis in the border town of Arsal.
Saturday's bombings halt a period of relative calm in Tripoli that began following an end to fighting between the Lebanese army and Nusra Front militants in the Bab al-Tabbaneh neighborhood in Oct. 2014.