Suicide Bombing in Beirut Kills 2, Injures 6

February 3, 2014  

A suicide bomber detonated himself in a van in Beirut Monday afternoon, killing 2 and injuring at least 6. 

The van was leading to the town of Choueifat, officials said. BBC News noted that the area houses a majority Christian and Druze population. 

“A man wearing an explosive belt boarded a public minibus in Choueifat and blew himself up,” Interior Minister Marwan Charbel told Lebanon’s Mayadeen television channel. According to the Daily Star, the bomber’s head was found several blocks away from the grisly scene. 

The van had been close to a gas station when the bomber detonated himself, wounding the driver and at least 2 others. 

The bombing is the second in 72 hours. On Saturday, another blast in the northeastern city of Hermel killed 2 and wounded 23. 

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet, Lebanese news sources noted, but suspicions abound that the attack is linked to Al Qaeda. The Al-Nusra Front, an Al Qaeda affiliate, has claimed responsibility for several bombings in the past year. 

Reuters said that the target may have been Hezbollah, whose neighborhoods and strongholds have been targeted over the past several months for its involvement in the Syrian Civil War.

The van was en route to a Hezbollah-backed neighborhood when it detonated, officials say, leading some to believe that the detonation may have been premature. 

Hezbollah’s decision to intervene in Syria has fueled tensions in Lebanon, which is bitterly divided over the war. Its stronghold in the southern suburbs of Beirut was hit by two car bombings this summer, one of which killed 27 people.

Bombings in the mainly Sunni northern city of Tripoli in late August also killed 45 people, and ongoing fighting in that city between rival militias supporting different sides in the Syrian civil war have killed scores more.

The US Embassy in Beirut condemned the terror act on its Twitter account Monday. “Our thoughts are with the victims and their families. We condemn this act of terror,” it stated. 

Tom Fletcher, the UK’s ambassador to Lebanon also condemned the attack. “We are monitoring situation carefully following explosion in Choueifat. Condemn callous effort to terrorise and divide. Solidarity,” he tweeted. 

Angelina Eichhorst, the EU’s ambassador, followed suit. “Another despicable act targeting innocent citizens in Southern Beirut. The EU strongly condemns such violent attacks fully supports Lebanon.” 

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