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Lebanon blast claimed by ISIL group ‘Saudi suspect detonates explosives’

BEIRUT, June 27, (RTRS): A Saudi suicide bomber killed in a raid by Lebanese security forces was part of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant group, according to a statement published on Friday that Lebanese security officials said they were taking seriously.

Three members of the security forces were wounded when they stormed Beirut’s Duroy Hotel on Wednesday and the Saudi suspect detonated his explosives, killing himself and wounding an accomplice. It was the third bomb blast in five days in Lebanon, which has been hit by violence linked to conflict in neighbouring Syria and Iraq, both fighting Sunni Muslim rebels who have seized territory straddling their disintegrating border.

Lebanon’s Sunni Muslims support rebels trying to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, an Alawite, while the militant Shi’ite movement Hezbollah has sent fighters to support him. “Two lions of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), who infiltrated the city of Beirut at the Duroy Hotel, engaged a group from the General Security service loyal to the Party of Satan,” the statement said in a derogatory reference to Hezbollah, which means Party of God in Arabic. “We tell the Party of Satan and its agent, the Lebanese army, that this is the first rain and we tell you that there are hundreds of people seeking suicide, who love the blood of (Shi’ite) rejectionists.” The purported ISIL announcement came three days after a statement in the name of the al-Qaeda-linked Abdullah Azzam Brigades which — without directly claiming responsibility for two bombings on Friday and Monday — warned of further attacks against Shi’ite Muslim targets in Lebanon.

Lebanon’s interior minister said the Saudi bomber who blew himself up on Wednesday had been planning an attack on another target, identified by security sources as a busy restaurant in Shi’ite south Beirut. On Monday a suicide bomber detonated explosives in his car when challenged by security forces in the south of the capital, killing himself and a security officer. Twenty people were wounded, including some at a cafe watching World Cup soccer.

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