2013 Iranian embassy bombing

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Iranian embassy bombings
Part of Syrian civil war spillover in Lebanon
Beirut in Lebanon.svg
Location of Beirut in Lebanon
LocationJinah, Beirut, Lebanon
Coordinates33°51′21.55″N 35°29′21.92″E / 33.8559861°N 35.4894222°E / 33.8559861; 35.4894222Coordinates: 33°51′21.55″N 35°29′21.92″E / 33.8559861°N 35.4894222°E / 33.8559861; 35.4894222
Date19 November 2013 (2013-11-19) (EET)
TargetIranian embassy, Beirut
Attack type
Suicide bomber, car bomb
Deaths23
Non-fatal injuries
160[1]
PerpetratorsAbdullah Azzam Brigades (al-Qaeda affiliate)
Al Mukhabarat Al A'amah (Hezbollah claim)

The Iranian embassy bombing was a double suicide bombing that occurred in front of the Iranian embassy in Beirut, Lebanon on 19 November 2013. The two bombings resulted in 23 deaths[2][3][4] and injured at least 160 others.[1]

Background[edit]

The bombings were seen as part of the spillover of the Syrian Civil War,[5] in which Hezbollah and Iran have supported the Syrian government, while the Abdullah Azzam Brigades have fought against the Syrian government.[6] On the same day as the bombing, Syrian government forces seized the town of Qarah from rebel fighters in an opening action in the Battle of Qalamoun.[5][7]

The Syrian government effort at the time to eliminate the rebel stronghold in Qalamoun, a region along the Lebanese border with strong ties to the Lebanese Sunni town of Arsal, with strong support of Hezbollah fighters, was expected by some analysts to raise tensions within Lebanon.[8]

Bombings[edit]

The area immediately outside the embassy gates was hit by two consecutive blasts. The first was reported to be carried out by a bomber either on a motorcycle[9] or on foot.[10] After people had rushed to the scene,[9] a 4x4 vehicle two buildings away from the embassy blew up in a second, deadlier explosion.[10] The two blasts occurred within 2 minutes of each other.[11] Six buildings were reported to have been damaged.[4] The bombs destroyed some building fronts and severely damaged the embassy gates, but caused only fairly minor damage to the embassy building.[10]

Victims[edit]

According to Lebanon's Health Ministry at least 23 people were killed and 147 wounded.[4] Iranian cultural attaché Ebrahim Ansari was among the dead,[10] with five Iranian security personnel wounded.[5] Ansari and the Iranian ambassador Ghazanfar Roknabadi were scheduled to leave the embassy to attend a meeting at the Ministry of Culture at around the time when the bombs went off.[10] The embassy's head of security, a Lebanese national, was also killed in the blast.[12]

Claims of responsibility[edit]

The Abdullah Azzam Brigades, a Sunni Islamist militant group,[3] claimed responsibility for the attack. The group declared that its attacks against Iran would continue until Iran "withdraws its forces from Syria".[10][13] The group has made false claims in the past.[14] On December 31, sources confirmed that Lebanese authorities have captured Majid bin Mohammad al-Majid, the Saudi leader of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades. The authorities have also convicted Rami Moety, a Lebanese fugitive originally from Joun, of being a collaborator in the crime. He remains at large[15][16]

Leader of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah said in December television interview that the attack was "linked to the Saudi intelligence services" because of "Saudi Arabia's rage against Iran over (Saudi Arabia's) failure" in Syria.[17]

Reactions[edit]

Domestic

Hezbollah held a public funeral and rally in Beirut the day after the attack. Hezbollah deputy leader Naim Qassem vowed to continue support for the Syrian government in saying the attacks in Lebanon were "inevitable pains on the road to victory", while mourners chanted "Death to America, Israel, and the takfiris!"[12]

Regional

Iranian foreign ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham blamed Israel for the attack, calling it "an inhuman crime and spiteful act done by Zionists and their mercenaries".[18][19] Israel denied any involvement.[14]

Saudi Arabia called on all its citizens to leave the country.[20]

Other states and entities

The attacks were condemned by the United Nations Security Council, China,[21] France, Syria, the United Kingdom and the United States.[3][10] Tom Fletcher, the British ambassador to Beirut, personally donated blood and expressed solidarity with those affected.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Beirut bomb blasts kill 23: Iranian Embassy is the target in a widening war between Shia and Sunni The Independent Retrieved 20 November 2013
  2. ^ "Nearly two dozen die in blasts in Beirut". Press TV. 19 November 2013. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  3. ^ a b c "Lebanon blasts hit Iran's embassy in Beirut". BBC News. 19 November 2013. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  4. ^ a b c "Beirut bombs kill 23; blasts linked to Syrian civil war". CNN. 19 November 2013.
  5. ^ a b c Saigol, Lina (22 October 2013). "Twin explosions leave 23 dead near Iran's embassy in Beirut". Financial Times. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  6. ^ Bill Roggio (27 June 2012). "Abdullah Azzam Brigades names leader, advises against attacks in Syria's cities". The Long War Journal. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
  7. ^ "Syrian army takes town along north-south highway: state media". Reuters. 19 November 2013. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  8. ^ Hezbollah deploys 15,000 troops for anticipated Qalamoun battle Al Arabiya. 1 November 2013. Retrieved 20 November 2013
  9. ^ a b "Devastating blasts hit Iran embassy in Beirut". Al Jazeera. 19 November 2013. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h Laila Bassam; Erica Solomon (19 November 2013). "Suicide bombings kill 23 near Iran embassy in Beirut". Beirut. Reuters. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  11. ^ Lebanon blasts hit Iran's embassy in Beirut: As it happened BBC News 20 November 2013
  12. ^ a b "Lebanon's Hezbollah holds funeral for Iran Embassy bombing dead, pledges continued Syria fight". The Washington Post. 21 November 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  13. ^ "Beirut probes Iranian embassy bomb attack". Euronews. 20 November 2013. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
  14. ^ a b "Iran blames Israel for Beirut blasts as Al-Qaeda offshoot lays claim". RT News. 19 November 2013.
  15. ^ "Ghosn confirms chief of Al-Qaeda-linked group arrested". The Daily Star. 1 January 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  16. ^ Hosenball, Mark; Alistair Bell; Andrew Hay (31 December 2013). "Leader of group linked to al Qaeda held in Lebanon: sources". Reuters. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  17. ^ "Saudis behind blasts at Iran embassy, Hezbollah says". BBC News. 4 December 2013. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  18. ^ "Iran accuses Israel of being behind Beirut bombings". Agence France-Presse. 19 November 2013.
  19. ^ Rebecca Collard (19 November 2013). "With Beirut bombing, Iran takes direct hit for helping Assad". The Christian Science Monitor. Beirut. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
  20. ^ Saudi Arabia urges citizens leave Lebanon Al Jazeera 21 November 2013
  21. ^ Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on 20 November 2013 Foreign Ministry of China 20 November 2013

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