Explosions Rip Through Southern Beirut Suburb

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BEIRUT — Two explosions ripped through the southern Beirut suburb of Borj El-Barajneh Thursday afternoon.

Lebanon's Red Cross reported that 37 people died in the explosions.
Last year, Beirut's southern suburbs were repeatedly targeted by al-Qaeda suicide bombers.

Initial reports cited by Lebanese media say the explosions were caused by two suicide bombers, who arrived to the area on foot. The bombs were seven minutes apart.

ISIS claimed responsibility for Thursday's double attack.

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The group said in a statement posted on Twitter by its supporters, that its members blew up a bike loaded with explosives in a street in the Borj al-Barajneh area and when people gathered, a suicide bomber blew himself up among them causing more casualties and killing 40 people.

ISIS and Nusra Front, the al-Qaeda-affiliate in Syria, have launched bomb attacks against civilians in Hezbollah strongholds as part of its war with the Lebanese militant group.

Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk gave the latest death toll. He also said a third suicide bomber had been killed by one of the explosions before he could detonated his own bomb. His body was found nearby.

Prime Minister Tammam Salam condemned the attacks as "unjustifiable", and called for unity against "plans to create strife" in the country, urging officials to overcome their differences.

The bombers struck as Lebanese lawmakers held a legislative session for the first time in over a year. An ongoing political crisis has left the country without a president for 17 months, with the government failing to take even basic decisions.