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Lebanon News

Remains raise Beirut bombings' death toll to 10

Residents attach a picture of Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah at the site of an explosion in the Beirut neighborhood of Bir Hasan, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: The death toll from the twin suicide car bombings that targeted the Iranian Cultural Center near Beirut rose to 10 following the recovery of more human remains from the site of the attack, judicial sources told The Daily Star Thursday.

The sources said it was not likely that the additional remains belonged to either of the two suicide bombers, one of whom has been identified.

The sources also revealed that the Internal Security Forces' Information Branch has arrested a Lebanese national who allegedly confessed prior to the attack to being tasked by a member of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades with monitoring the Iranian Cultural Center.

The suspect reportedly told authorities that Lebanese Sheikh Sirajeddin Zreikat, a spokesperson for the militant group, had also asked him to case the headquarters of Hezbollah-affiliated al-Manar television channel.

Al-Manar television identified the suspect as Mahmoud Abu Alfa, saying he was arrested in the Beirut neighborhood of al-Tariq al-Jadidah where an alleged "logistics network" was operating for the Azzam Brigades.

The suspect reportedly named several possible targets in the southern suburbs, a predominantly Shiite area strongly associated with Hezbollah.

Meanwhile, Military Prosecutor Judge Saqr Saqr said DNA tests conducted on relatives of 22-year-old Palestinian Nidal al-Mghayer matched remains found at the scene of the blasts.

Mghayer’s father Hisham surrendered himself Wednesday to the Army Intelligence unit in Zahrani after he identified his son from a photograph published by the Lebanese Army of a "dangerous" suspect linked to the attacks.

The other bomber has not been identified yet. Authorities are appealing to civilians who have any family members lost since the attack to report them missing.

The judiciary handed over four of the bodies to their relatives Thursday, the sources said.

The Al-Qaeda-linked Abdullah Azzam Brigades claimed responsibility for the bombings, which took place in Bir Hasan, south of Beirut. It was the second such attack targeting Iranian interests in Lebanon, with the group citing Iran's support for Hezbollah, which is fighting alongside regime forces in Syria. The group also claimed responsibility for the Nov. 19 bombings of the Iranian embassy, which is located in the same area.

One of the sources said that the security forces had implemented tight security measures near the Cultural Center, but they were unable to block the road leading to the center.

“If it hadn’t been for the security measures, the explosion could have resulted in more losses for the Iranian center,” the source said.

 

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Summary

The death toll from the twin suicide car bombings that targeted the Iranian Cultural Center near Beirut rose to 10 following the recovery of more human remains from the site of the attack, judicial sources told The Daily Star Thursday.

The sources said it was not likely that the additional remains belonged to either of the two suicide bombers, one of whom has been identified.

The sources also revealed that the Internal Security Forces' Information Branch has arrested a Lebanese national who allegedly confessed prior to the attack to being tasked by a member of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades with monitoring the Iranian Cultural Center.


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