In fallout from war next door, blasts target Sunnis in Tripoli
TRIPOLI, Lebanon — In scenes reminiscent of Lebanon's devastating civil war, charred bodies lay in the streets Friday after twin car bombs exploded outside mosques packed with worshippers, killing 29 people and wounding hundreds.
The coordinated attacks in this predominantly Sunni city — the deadliest fallout from Syria's civil war to hit Lebanon — raised sectarian tensions to dangerous levels amid fears the country was slipping into a cycle of revenge.
The blasts marked the second such attack in over a week. A deadly car bombing targeted an overwhelmingly Shiite district south of Beirut controlled by the militant Hezbollah group on Aug. 15.
The attacks on Friday shocked residents of Tripoli, which has been the scene of frequent clashes between supporters and opponents of President Bashar Assad in recent months. But the city, Lebanon's second-largest, has not seen such bombings in decades.
The blasts were clearly intended to cause maximum civilian casualties. The two explosions went off about five minutes apart.
“Lebanon has officially entered the regional war which has been raging in Syria and Iraq,” said Randa Slim, a scholar at the Washington-based Middle East Institute.
“There are serious fears that the country has entered a vicious cycle of tit-for-tat explosions and car bombs. A dynamic of violence and reprisals, once set in, is hard to reverse,” she said.
Local TV stations aired shocking footage. In one video, apparently recorded by a closed-circuit television camera in the area, scores of terrified worshippers were seen spilling out of one of the mosques in a crushing stampede immediately after the explosion struck.
In the chaotic aftermath, bearded gunmen took to the streets of Tripoli, firing in the air, attacking soldiers and sealing off the two mosques where the car bombs went off. Later, they roamed the streets in SUVs, weapons sticking out of the windows.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kurdish forces fight back, but new strategy could hinder resistance
- Divide between mainstream French, poor Muslims evident in terror reaction
- Obama defends Yemen counterterrorism strategy
- Civilians killed in fighting in separatist-held Donetsk, Ukraine
- Parole granted to leader of apartheid death squad
- Africans open new front in terror war
- ‘A chink in’ jihadi ‘armor’
- Have another baby, Chinese officials coax couples
- Islamic State group pushed out of Syria’s Kobani
- Prime Minister Tsipras forms government in Greece as jittery Europe watches
- Islamic State forces chased from Syrian Kurdish city