Site of bombing in Lebanese Hezbollah stronghold.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Lebanese army has reportedly increased security at the Palestinian Ain al-Hilweh Refugee Camp following news that a Palestinian is suspected of being one of two suicide bombers that targeted the Iranian Cultural Center in Beirut on Wednesday.
One of the alleged suicide bombers has been identified as, Nidal al-Mghayer, a resident of Sidon’s Baysariyyeh, who has family members in Ain al-Hilweh, according to a report Wednesday night by the NOW Lebanon website, which said he was a supporter of fugitive Sunni jihadist cleric Ahmad al-Assir. Assir and his followers fought with Lebanese security forces last summer.
The army said two cars packed with explosives had been used in the rush hour attack of the predominantly Shi’ite southern suburbs of Beirut.
Similar tactics were used in a twin suicide attack on the nearby Iranian Embassy in November.
The Abdullah Azzam Brigades, an al-Qaida-linked group, claimed responsibility for the attack, which wounded more than 100 people.
The death toll from the bombing increased to 10 as the search for victims continued, judicial sources told Lebanon’s The Daily Star
The sources said that security forces arrested a suspect who confessed to monitoring the Iranian Cultural Center for the Abdullah Azzam Brigades. He was told by the group’s spokesman to also keep an eye on Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV headquarters.
Mghayer’s father was located after the army circulated pictures of the suspect.
Security sources said the father told military intelligence that the picture was that of his son.
Sources confirmed that DNA tests taken from relatives of Mghayer matched remains at the blast site, reported The Daily Star
Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV website reported that Mghayer fought for a month in the Syrian city of Qalamoun against the Syrian army.Reuters contributed to this report.