Lebanon News

Suicide blasts claim 11th victim, second bomber still unidentified

Forensic experts check the site of an explosion in Beirut, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: An Ethiopian domestic worker wounded in a twin car bombing south of Beirut earlier this week died Friday, raising the death toll to 11 as investigations into the attack continued in an attempt to identify the second suicide bomber.

A security source said Tadilish Dista died at Rafik Hariri hospital early Friday from wounds sustained in Wednesday’s twin blasts near the Iranian Cultural Center in Bir Hasan. At least 128 people were also wounded in the attack.

Investigators continued to gather evidence and analyze CCTV footage from the scene, but failed to reach a breakthrough.

One of the suicide bombers involved in the attack has not been identified as no relatives have come forward to be tested in order to confirm his identity, a security source told The Daily Star.

The Lebanese Army identified Nidal al-Mghayer, a 22-year-old Palestinian, as one of the Bir Hasan suicide bombers after his parents came forward for DNA testing hours after the military released an image of their son seeking information on his whereabouts.

Investigators are also trying to identify who recruited the suicide bombers and who delivered the cars to them, the security source said, adding that primary indications show that the cars may have been rigged in Yabroud, a rebel-controlled area in Syria that is the scene of fierce fighting with forces loyal to embattled President Bashar Assad.

Meanwhile, a team from the state-run Higher Relief Committee arrived at the scene of the explosion in Bir Hasan Friday to assess damage inflicted on shops and residential apartments so that the government could provide compensation.

Affected property owners and residents were urged to submit claims for compensation to the HRC.

Earlier Friday, several shop owners briefly blocked a road in Bir Hasan to protest strict security measures imposed in the vicinity of the nearby Hezbollah-run Al-Manar television station, claiming their businesses were suffering.

Druze leader Walid Jumblatt condemned the “terrorist explosions” in phone calls with the Iranian and Kuwaiti ambassadors, whose missions are based in Bir Hasan not far from the site of the bombing.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 22, 2014, on page 2.




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