About 27 people got killed and over 350 injured due to the 2 blasts in Tripoli, Lebanon’s city in the north, according to officials.
As the Friday prayers completed, one blast hit mosque of al-Taqwa, usually which is attended by the Sheikh Salem Rafii, the prominent cleric of Sunni sect. He is reported to be unharmed.One other blast 5 minutes afterwards hit the mosque of al-Salam.
War in the neighboring Syria tends to have raised the sectarian tensions as between this city’s Sunni Muslim as well as Alawite communities.It’s believed that Sheikh Salem Rafii was the attack’s possible target as he is quite a prominent leader of Sunnis in Lebanon.
He’s opposed to the Shia militant Hezbollah group in Lebanon and previously has urged the young men of country to join the opposition fighters within Syria.
It’s not clear that whether he happened to be at mosque when the attack occurred, although some of the reports do say that he was delivering a sermon.
It is said that the cleric was expected to have a statement issued after meeting Council of Muslim Clerics, umbrella body of the Sunni leaders of Lebanon.
Many ambulances rushed toward the blasts’ aftermath and sky was covered with black heavy smoke.One local resident said,
“It was as if there was an earthquake, the whole city seemed to be shaking.”
The pictures on TV showed the damaged cars to be on fire, their windows quite smashed, and the people running in streets attempting to carry the wounded people towards safety.
The bodies were seen on ground and the windows of nearby apartment blocks were broken.
It was reported that preacher at mosque of al-Salam – site of 2nd explosion – also is one opponent of Syrian government as well as its ally in Lebanon, Hezbollah.
Responsibility for these latest attacks hasn’t been taken by any group.Tripoli, the city with about 200,000 people as well as being Lebanon’s 2nd largest, tends to be one of country’s extremely volatile sectarian lines of fault, with small population of Alawite living in midst of Sunni majority.
Alawite community supports President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, with the Sunnis mostly supporting rebels who were fighting him.
These bombs have come after a week of big car bomb that rocked one Shia district at Beirut, leaving many dozens dead. This area contained the strongholds of Hezbollah.
Najib Mikati, the outgoing Prime Minister of Lebanon, condemned these recent explosions, saying that they aimed towards inciting strife as well as drag Tripoli along with its sons into the reactionary moves.