Al Qaeda blames Hezbollah for Lebanon bombings

DUBAI Sat Aug 24, 2013 6:12am EDT

Lebanese army soldiers stand near damaged buildings caused by the two explosions outside two mosques in Lebanon's northern city of Tripoli, August 23, 2013. Twin explosions outside two mosques killed at least 27 people and wounded hundreds in apparently coordinated attacks in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli on Friday, a senior health official and witnesses said. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

Lebanese army soldiers stand near damaged buildings caused by the two explosions outside two mosques in Lebanon's northern city of Tripoli, August 23, 2013. Twin explosions outside two mosques killed at least 27 people and wounded hundreds in apparently coordinated attacks in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli on Friday, a senior health official and witnesses said.

Credit: Reuters/Mohamed Azakir

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DUBAI (Reuters) - Al Qaeda's North African branch blamed Lebanese Shi'ite Muslim militant group Hezbollah for twin bombs that hit the northern city of Tripoli on Friday and threatened retribution, a U.S.-based intelligence monitoring website reported on Saturday.

Although al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, is not operational in Lebanon, its statement shows a growing regional hatred against Hezbollah by radical Sunni Muslim groups and a wider, deepening sectarian divide in the Middle East.

AQIM said in tweets it knew "with certainty" that the Iranian-backed Hezbollah was responsible for the attack that killed more than 42 people in Tripoli.

"That vile party ... should know that it will meet retribution soon," AQIM said, according to the SITE monitoring service.

Hezbollah, which was once lauded by both Sunnis and Shi'ites for its battles against Israel, has lost support from many Sunnis since it joined Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's side in his 2 1/2-year-old fight against a majority Sunni uprising.

Syrian rebels, whose strongest elements are radical Sunnis, have been hosted in neighboring Lebanon by sympathetic Sunnis and there have been attacks on Hezbollah members on Lebanese soil. Both Hezbollah and radical Sunni groups in Lebanon have sent fighters into Syria to fight on opposing sides.

The explosions in Tripoli, 70 km (40 miles) from the capital Beirut, were the biggest and deadliest there since the end of Lebanon's own civil war and came a week after a huge car bomb killed at least 24 people in a Shi'ite district of Beirut controlled by Hezbollah.

"We know with certainty that behind this deplorable act committed against are the hands of the vile, rafidah Hezbollah, which stands side by side with Bashar in Syria," the AQIM tweets said, as quoted by SITE.

Al Qaeda groups follow a hardline ideology that rejects all non-Sunnis as infidels and regularly incites antagonism towards Shi'ites. Assad's family is from the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam.

(Reporting By Mirna Sleiman; Editing by Oliver Holmes and Mark Heinrich)

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Comments (4)
Erikkc wrote:
Ha ha ha. And the pot calls the kettle black.

A pox on both their houses!

Aug 24, 2013 5:40am EDT  --  Report as abuse
sylvan wrote:
AQIM targeting Hezbollah could be the best thing to eliminate AQ since it was lights out for bin Laden. I agree AQIM, it was a major diss…go get them, but wipe out their leadership and leave the citizens out of your vengeful wars.

Aug 24, 2013 7:49am EDT  --  Report as abuse
westernshame wrote:
wow, how time flies…… hey wait a minute its not april 1st again??

now i know the western powers are trying to convince us that there is good Taliban and bad Taliban, good Al Qaeda and bad Al Qaeda but when did AQIM’s twitter feed become a credible news source?????

please Reuters, for your own sake, stop this nonsense before you become a laughing-stock…. if it’s not to late already

Aug 24, 2013 8:55am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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