Twin suicide blasts killed at least 41 people and injured 200 Thursday in a mostly Shi’ite area of South Beirut, Lebanese officials announced.
The explosions occurred minutes apart, according to officials in Lebanon.
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, claimed responsibility on social media. There was no independent verification.
The area hit is a stronghold for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.
According to Hezbollah’s Al Manar news service, the blasts occurred moments apart during the evening rush hour and after sunset prayers to maximize casualties.
Lebanese officials declared a national day of mourning Friday and ordered all schools and universities to close.
“We condemn the cowardly criminal act that can never be justified, and we call on the Lebanese to be more watchful and united against strife,” said Lebanon’s Prime Minister Tamman Salam in a statement released by Lebanon’s embassy in Washington.
Bruce Alpert adapted this story for Learning English from VOA News reports. Kathleen Struck was the editor.
Words in This Story
maximize – v. d to increase (something) as much as possible
stronghold – n. an area where most people have the same beliefs, values, etc. : an area dominated by a particular group
strife - n. very angry or violent disagreement between two or more people or groups
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