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Iran diplomat among 23 killed in suicide blasts in Beirut

Lebanon-based al Qaeda-linked group,Abdullah Azzam Brigades,claimed responsibility.

Twin suicide bombings struck outside the Iranian Embassy in the Lebanese capital on Tuesday,killing 23 people,including the Iranian cultural attaché,and wounding dozens more in one of the worst bombings to target the predominantly Shiite area in southern Beirut.

The mid-morning blasts hit the upscale neighborhood of Janah,a stronghold of the Iranian-backed Shiite Hezbollah group,leaving pools of blood and bodies on the rubble-strewn street amid burning cars.

Iran’s ambassador Ghazanfar Roknabadi identified one of the dead as Ebrahim Ansari,a cultural attache at the embassy.

A Lebanon-based al Qaeda-linked group,the Abdullah Azzam Brigades,claimed responsibility and threatened further attacks unless Iran withdraws forces from Syria.

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Security camera footage showed a man in an explosives belt rushing towards the outer wall of the embassy in Beirut before blowing himself up,Lebanese officials said.

A Lebanese security official said the first suicide attacker was on a motorcycle that carried two kilograms (4.4 pounds) of explosives. He blew himself up at the large black main gate of the Iranian mission,damaging the three-story facility,the official said.

Less than two minutes later,a second suicide attacker driving a car rigged with 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of explosives struck about 10 meters (yards) away,the official said.

First published on: 20-11-2013 at 01:44:35 am
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