Lebanon PM condemns deadly Tripoli suicide attack

Lebanon PM condemns deadly Tripoli suicide attack
Al-Qaeda affiliate Nusra Front says it trained two Lebanese men in Syria before sending them to attack cafe in predominantly Alawite area.
2 min read
11 January, 2015
The Lebanese army set up a cordon shortly after the attack [AFP]

The Lebanese prime minister has condemned as a "terrorist act" the deadly suicide bombing of a cafe in Tripoli claimed by al-Qaeda affiliate, the Nusra Front.

The attack late on Saturday, described as a double suicide attack, killed nine and wounded 37 at a cafe in the predominantly Alawite area of Jabal Mohsen.

The Nusra Front, based in Syria, said on Twitter the attack would "avenge Sunnis in Syria and Lebanon", while the Turkish Andalou news agency quoted an unnamed leader as saying the attackers were trained in the Syrian border region of Qalamoun.

Lebanon's prime minister, Tammam Salam, said: "The arm of terrorism has once more reached Tripoli to... attack its people in an attempt to sow the seeds of discord and return it to chaos and violence.

"This new crime is a challenge to the state and its security forces, which had succeeded in putting an end to the suffering of Tripoli, and stopping the cycle of violence."

     This new crime is a challenge to the state and its security forces.

- Lebanese prime minister, Tammam Salam

The two attackers were named as Taha Samir Khayyal, 20, and Bilal Mohammad Marayan, 28, both of whom lived in Mankoubeen, an area adjacent to Jabal Mohsen.

Tripoli, in the north of Lebanon, has been rocked of battles between militant groups and the Lebanese army, the most recent coming in October in Jabal Mohsen when 11 soldiers and 22 militants were killed.

The city has also suffered several large suicide attacks, including the bombing of two mosques in Audust 2013 which killed and injured dozens.

The Lebanese Shia group Hizballah said it condemned the "horrific crime committed by takfiri terrorism" on Saturday.

"This crime, which was committed by terrorists, has straightforward and clear objectives," the group said. "The dangers that threaten our region are all one and its source is the takfiri criminal ideology.

Hizballah said those responsible "pose a threat to our country, all its people, and Islam and Muslims in general" and called on the army and state institutions to cooperate to "eliminate this scourge".

The Lebanese government on Saturday imposed a short curfew in Jabal Mohsen, surrounded the homes of the suspected suicide bombers in Mankoubeen, one of the poorest areas of the city, and arrested the father of one of the suspects.

This is an edited translation of the original Arabic.