A massive car bomb exploded in Beirut's commercial district early today killing the former finance minister, Mohammad Shatah and five other people. At least 10 buildings were set on fire as ambulances rushed to the scene to pick up the wounded and dead. The explosion is bound to sharpen divisions in Lebanon. Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri hinted at Hizbullah's involvement, something the resistance group does not indulge in.
December 27, 2013, 09:17 EDT
A massive car bombing shook Beirut’s central district killing several people and leaving dozens injured in the early morning on Friday. The bomb went off near the headquarters of Lebanon’s March 14 Alliance that is led by former Prime Minister Saad Hariri. The Lebanese parliament and other government buildings are also close by. With several cars and buildings burning and ambulance sirens wailing, the scene was one of utter devastation. So far six people have been reported killed and more than 70 injured. The number of dead is bound to rise as among those injured, some are in critical condition. Paramedics were seen rushing them to ambulances and speeding off to hospital.
Among the dead is Mohammad Shatah, 62, a former finance minister and advisor to Hariri. A companion traveling with him was also killed. Shatah was on his way to a meeting at Hariri’s sprawling house. Not only wreckage from cars but also body parts of those killed were scattered throughout the area. Smoke billowed from burning buildings while there was blood on the pavement.
In the past, Beirut has been the scene of sectarian killings but the area targeted today is not known to be a stronghold of any particular sect. It is a commercial/business area and people of all sects whether Muslims (Sunnis and Shias) or Christians interact in the district. Naturally, the question uppermost in everyone’s mind is: who could have carried this out and what was the motive. Hariri accused Hizbullah without naming it. The resistance group does not indulge in such attacks, concentrating instead on confronting the Zionist occupiers of their country. Hizbullah called the attack a "despicable crime" aimed at destabilizing Lebanon.
In November, Iran’s embassy in the Janah district of Beirut was hit by two suicide car bombings killing at least 23 people, including Iran’s cultural attaché Hujjatulislam Ebrahim Ansari. More than 140 were injured. The Abdullah Azzam Brigade, a group with close links to the Saudi regime, claimed responsibility for that attack. In Lebanon, the finger of suspicion is pointed at the Saudis, especially its spy chief, Bandar bin Sultan, and his close allies the zionists.