At least 23 people were killed and 150 more were injured Tuesday as twin bomb blasts rocked the Iranian embassy in Beirut. Security officials said that among the dead was Iranian cultural attaché Sheikh Ibrahim Ansari, who only joined the Iranian contingent in Lebanon's capital a short time ago. According to local media, a suicide bomber was behind the first blast, while the second came from a car bomb. Firefighters rushed to the scene to extinguish the flames while at least six bodies lay strewn in the street. The attack follows two bombings in the Beirut suburbs this summer.
"Twin suicide bombers detonated explosions outside the Iranian Embassy in a mainly Shiite district of the Lebanese capital on Tuesday, killing 23 people, including the Iranian cultural attaché, apparently in retaliation for the Lebanese group Hezbollah's support of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The bombings appeared to be another strike in an intensifying proxy battle over Syria's civil war that is rattling its smaller neighbor Lebanon. An al-Qaida-linked Sunni extremist group claimed responsibility for the attack, saying more would follow unless the Iranian-backed Shiite Hezbollah withdraws fighters that have helped Assad's military score key victories over Syrian rebels.
The mid-morning blasts hit the upscale neighborhood of Janah, a Hezbollah stronghold, leaving bodies and pools of blood on the glass-strewn street amid burning cars. More than 140 people were wounded, officials said."
"We tell those who carried out the attack, you will not be able to break us," Hezbollah lawmaker Ali Mikdad told Al-Mayadeen TV. "We got the message and we know who sent it and we know how to retaliate."