Beirut bomb may have been ‘suicide attack’
BEIRUT - Reuters
Cars burn at the site of an explosion in Beirut's southern suburbs, Aug. 15. REUTERS photoThe death toll from a car bomb which ripped through the southern Beirut stronghold of Lebanon’s militant group Hezbollah rose on Aug. 16 to 24, and the government said it was investigating whether the blast was a suicide attack, Reuters has reported.
Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said investigators were checking CCTV footage in the moments before the explosion to see whether the van which was believed to be carrying the bomb had been driven by a suicide bomber or detonated remotely. “The first hypothesis is that the driver blew himself up, while the second hypothesis says that the car may have been blown up from a distance,” Lebanon’s National News Agency quoted Charbel as saying. Reporters who arrived at the scene minutes after the explosion saw a burnt-out car near the centre of the road, suggesting it was being driven when it blew up.
Hezbollah parliamentarian Ali Ammar told reporters in south Beirut on Aug. 16 that the death toll had reached 24, while Health Minister Ali Hassan Khalil said 21 bodies were taken to hospitals and another 335 wounded people had been treated. The discrepancy in death tolls may be the result of some bodies being too badly damaged in the explosion to be collected or identified.
Among the dead were a family of five who were killed in their car by the blast, which destroyed several vehicles.