File - A teacher assist two students at the Dar al-Aytam in Barbir, Wednesday, April 30, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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It was a collective birthday for the children at Dar al-Aytam al-Islamiya, an orphanage in Bir Hasan, in Beirut's southern suburbs.Twelve other children were lightly wounded in the twin suicide bombing that struck the neighborhood in February during a wave of attacks linked to the war in neighboring Syria.Dar al-Aytam's head of education remembered staff and children preparing cakes and sweets. There were 250 children at the center, and some 30 staff members. The bombing damaged the structure of the center, which is now staffed only with construction workers trying to rebuild.The Iranian Embassy suicide bombing in Bir Hasan last November also caused damage, as well as frightening the children.Here, rows of classrooms stretch through the hallway, at the end of which is a psychologists' room for the children.Some of the children who attend Dar al-Aytam are not orphans, but school dropouts.Nabil, the 13-year-old who was at the playground when the explosion shook the neighborhood, and who sleeps at the center every night, seemed reserved.
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