ISIS claims responsibility for Beirut car bomb
“In light of the Islamic State’s security effort, [we] were able to break the boundaries and infiltrate the security system of the party of Satan in Lebanon and attack it in the heart of its bastion, which is also known as it’s security zone in Beirut’s southern suburbs on Thursday,” a statement issued online by the Syrian rebel group said.
It added that the car bomb was “the first little [attack] out of a batch of heavy price those criminals will pay.”
The Lebanese Army confirmed the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber identified as Qotaiba Mohammad al-Satem from the northern region of Wadi Khaled in Akkar.
The military’s announcement came after forensic experts ran DNA tests on human remains found in the explosive-rigged Grand Cherokee, as well as on the victims and Satem’s father.
The car bomb in the densely populated neighborhood of Haret Hreik, a Hezbollah stronghold, killed four people and wounded 77 others.
A security source told The Daily Star Friday that Satem had disappeared three months ago, and that he had been fighting in Syria with the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria rebel group.
The source said that Satem’s father regularly led prayers at a mosque in Wadi Khaled and that he was known for his extreme stances against the Syrian regime.
The source added that Satem was an engineering student at the Lebanese International University in Koura.
Families laid to rest two of the victims in separate neighborhoods in Beirut’s southern suburbs including 17-year-old Ali Khadra.
Covered in a Hezbollah flag, Khadra’s coffin was carried on the shoulders of his friends and relatives in a crowded funeral procession in a southern Beirut neighborhood.
At Adnan Awali’s funeral procession, Hezbollah MP Ali Ammar criticized politicians who he said were justifying bombings in the capital’s southern suburbs, saying: “There are members of Nusra Front and ISIS in Lebanon and these politicians insist on justifying the logic of terrorism while we oppose all kinds of bombings in Lebanon.”
Ammar was referring to his rivals in the March 14 coalition and Future Movement who have said Hezbollah’s military involvement in Syria has led to the bombings.
The Jan. 2 attack occurred less than a week after former Minister Mohammad Shatah was killed in a car bomb in Downtown Beirut, along with seven people.
Sources: The Daily Star