Iranian diplomat killed in Beirut attack
Iran's cultural attache to Lebanon Sheikh Ibrahim Al Ansari was killed along with at least 23 others in the twin blasts that hit the country's embassy in Lebannese capital Beirut, Tehran's ambassador to Lebanon Ghadnfar Roknabadi confirmed. The al-Qaida- linked Sunni jihadist group Abdullah Azzam Brigades said it was behind the attacks which injured another 146 people. Iran said the attacks were an "inhumane crime and spiteful measure by the Zionists and their mercenaries."
The head of Abdullah Azzam Brigades described the attack, one of the worst since the war in Syria begun almost three years ago, as a "double martyrdom operation carried out by two heroes from the heroic Sunnis of Lebanon".
Lebanon's National News Agency (NNA) reported that a suicide bomber blew himself up in a parking lot near the embassy at 10:15 a.m. local time followed by another suicide bomber who blew a bobby-trapped car near the embassy.
A local security source estimated the weight of the explosive materials used in the explosion to be around 100 kgs of TNT.
Iran is a major backer of the Lebanese Shia militant group Hezbollah, which has sent fighters to Syria to back the government of Bashar al-Assad.
Lebanon's security forces cordoned the scene of the explosion and according to the army launched immediate investigations.