Lebanon News

Embassy bombers stayed at luxury Beirut hotel: Saqr

A forensic inspector collects evidence at the site of the two suicide bombings that occurred on Tuesday near Iran's embassy compound in Beirut November 20, 2013. REUTERS/Sharif Karim

BEIRUT: Two suicide bombers, who attacked the Iranian Embassy in Lebanon earlier this week killing at least 25 people, stayed at a luxury Beirut hotel, Militay Prosecutor Saqr Saqr said Thursday.

Saqr told The Daily Star the killers, who spoke Arabic, stayed at the Sheraton Four Points hotel in the Beirut area near UNESCO.

He said security camera videos submitted by the hotel were also being examined.

Security sources told The Daily Star that a Palestinian national was among the two suicide bombers, adding that investigators were still trying to identify the second bomber.

Saqr said fingerprints taken from the hotel room were being analyzed, describing this measure as "the most significant step."

Conflicting reports in the local media claimed the killers had stayed for one night at the hotel, while others said they stayed for four days.

"We confiscated two Lebanese identity cards, but they were forged," Saqr said, adding that Lebanese Army intelligence had searched the bombers' hotel room and seized other items.

LBCI television channel said the fake IDs identified one bomber as a Beirut resident and the other from the Iqlim al-Kharroub province southeast of Beirut.

As-Safir and the pro-Hezbollah Al-Akhbar newspapers said the killers had also carried two cell phones that they did not use, according to an unsourced report.

At least 25 people were killed and more than 150 were wounded when two suicide bombers - one wearing an explosive belt and the other driving a bomb-laden vehicle - attacked the Iranian embassy in Bir Hasan, a predominantly Shiite neighborhood south of Beirut. Among the killed were the embassy’s cultural advisor and several guards.

Saqr said no arrests have yet been made in the bombings case.

The Abdullah Azzam brigades, a Lebanon-based al-Qaeda affiliate, claimed responsibility for the suicide bombings outside the Iranian embassy at Bir Hasan.

The report also said the bombers were driving a stolen Chevrolet Trailblazer in the attack which was handed over to them only meters away from the Iranian Embassy.

One attacker who was wearing an explosive belt stepped out of the vehicle and blew himself up at the entrance of the embassy to make way for the suicide car bomber.

Coincidently, a water tanker stood in the way of the Trailblazer hindering the second bomber’s way. A police officer then approached him prompting him to detonate himself, according to the report.

The Trailblazer was rigged with 50 kilograms of explosives, the Lebanese Army said.

 

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