Iran blames Israel for attacks on its embassy in Beirut

Flames rise from the site of a blast in Bir Hassan neighborhood in the southern Beirut on Nov. 19, 2013. (AFP)

Iran accused Israel on Tuesday of masterminding the deadly suicide attacks that targeted its embassy in Beirut killing at least 23 people and wounding more than 150 others.

Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham told the official IRNA news agency that the bombings were “an inhuman crime and spiteful act done by Zionists and their mercenaries.”

Iran’s Ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Roknabadi told Hezbollah's al-Manar TV station that the blasts served the interests of the “the Zionist entity.”

“We are proud to be ahead in confronting the Israeli schemes,” he added.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said the deadly blasts should be “an alarm for all of us.”

“The tragedy today... should be an alarm for all of us that we need to deal with and unless we deal with it seriously, it will engulf all of us,” Zarif was quoted as saying by AFP after talks with his Italian counterpart Emma Bonino in Rome.

Asked about the statements on Israel’s involvement by his ministry, he said: “We have reason to be suspicious of every move they make. Every move they make is about spreading tension and mistrust.”

But Zarif also noted that there was a symptom of the “extremism” spreading in the Middle East, particularly from Syria.

“There is every reason to be concerned about it. Extremism cannot be contained in any single country,” he was quoted as saying by AFP.

“It’s a very serious problem. Once we see a flare-up of the tension that is boiling in Syria there will hardly a possibility of stopping it at the Syrian border, or even in the Middle East.”

Israeli lawmaker Tzachi Hanegbi said his country had played no role. “The bloodshed in Beirut is a result of Hezbollah’s involvement in the Syria crisis. Israel was not involved in the past and was not involved here,” Reuters reported.

The al-Qaeda-linked Abdullah Azzam brigades group said on Tuesday it was behind the attack, an Islamist leader affiliated with the group announced via Twitter.

In Twitter posts, Sirajuddin Zurayqat, the Islamist leader affiliated with the Abdullah Azzam brigades, said attacks on Lebanon would continue unless Hezbollah fighters pull out of Syria.

Iran-backed Hezbollah is a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and has deployed fighters to support loyalist troops in the country’s civil war.

(With AFP and Reuters)

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:40 - GMT 06:40
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