Al Qaeda affiliate claims Iranian embassy attack in Beirut
Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 01:43
(WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT) Nov. 19 - An al Qaeda linked group claims responsibility for deadly twin bomb blasts that rocked the Iranian embassy in Beirut. Mana Rabiee reports.
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WARNING: STORY CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT
This was the immediate aftermath of twin suicide blasts that rocked the Iranian embassy in Beirut on Tuesday.
At least 23 people were killed, including Iran's Cultural Attache, and some 150 wounded.
Witnesses describe the moments after the first blast.
(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) LEBANESE SHOP OWNER, RABIH ISTANBULI, SAYING:
"Some went out onto balconies, others went into the street, all looking at the blast site. The second explosion that happened was very big, everyone was wounded because of it. I saw them myself. People falling from balconies, others hit by things from balconies falling on them."
Lebanese officials say security camera footage shows a man wearing an explosives belt rushed at the embassy's outer wall, before blowing himself up.
They say the second explosion was from a car bomb two buildings away.
Medical teams rushed survivors to hospital.
(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) BLAST VICTIM, IBRAHIM HASSAN HUSSEIN, SAYING:
"I was standing with one of my friends, we were at work, and I felt nothing but flying and hitting the floor. God helped me and I stood up and walked."
Iran's Ambassador to Lebanon, Ghazanfar Roknabadi, struck a defiant tone after the blasts, suggesting Israel was to blame.
(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) IRAN'S AMBASSADOR TO LEBANON, GHAZANFAR ROKONABADI, SAYING:
"This kind of attack will never affect us. There are 75 million Iranians in Iran who want Iran to be involved in the fight against the Israeli occupation."
But it was an al-Qaeda linked group - the Abdullah Azzam Brigades - that claimed responsibility for the attack…
…the latest in a series of bombings in Lebanon linked to the war in neighboring Syria.
That's where Shii'te Iran backs President Assad's fight against Sunni Muslim rebels, some of whom are linked to al Qaeda.
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