Monday, June 27, 2016

Wave of suicide attacks in a Christian village in northern Lebanon

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Four more suicide attacks against al-Qaa tonight. Its church and municipality building were targeted. The Lebanese army and security forces are reported to be clashing with terrorists in the village and its outskirts. The army is urging residents to stay in their homes.

This morning, four suicide attacks in al-Qaa

That’s not the kind of news we want to wake up to on a Monday morning, or any morning for that matter: 5 civilians killed and 15 wounded in a series of suicide attacks in the predominantly Christian village of al-Qaa.

"The first attacker knocked on one of the homes in the village, but after the resident became suspicious, he blew himself up. People began gathering at the site of the explosion and the three other suicide attackers blew themselves up", a military source told the Agence France Presse (AFP).

"At least eight killed including three suicide bombers, and 15 others injured," Georges Kettaneh, the general secretary of Lebanese Red Cross, told the AFP.

Three Lebanese soldiers who were stationed in the area were wounded and transported to the hospital, said the Lebanese National News Agency (NNA).

Health Minister, Wael Abou Faour, has called on all the hospitals to receive the wounded at the ministry's expense, the NNA reported.
Source: NNA

Why was al-Qaa targetted?

Al-Qaa is a predominantly Christian village in the Bekaa valley, close to the Lebanese Syrian border.
“It’s the first time a Christian village is targeted in such a way”, former Interior minister Marwan Charbel told the Beirut based pan-Arab channel Al-Mayadeen.

There are still conflicting reports on why al-Qaa was targeted. One of the suicide bombers allegedly asked where the church was. But as Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea wrote on Twitter: hiding in the village and awaiting transport is also plausible. 


Al-Qaa is situated between the Ersal region where Daech and Nosra are hiding and a Hezbollah stronghold to the north. Targeted or just used as a hiding place, in both cases there's a strong possibility al-Qaa was chosen because of its predominantly Christian population.

Source: NOW.

Tomorrow, a national day of mourning

The NNA published the names of the victims: Faysal Aad, Joseph Lebbos, Majeb Wehbe, Boulos al-Ahmar and George Fares. The wounded transported to the Batoul Hospital in Hermel include Khalil Wehbe, Bassel Matar, Milad Matar, Shadi Mokalled, Marwan Lebbos and Dunya Shahoud.

Lebanese PM, Tammam Salam has issued a memo declaring a national mourning day on Tuesday over the victims of the suicide bombings.
"The memorandum issued by Salam said the country will observe a day of mourning on June 28, calling on all Lebanese to stand five minutes in silence to pay respect to the victims of Monday's attacks and their families", The Daily Star reported.



> UPDATE: Four more suicide attacks against al-Qaa tonight

Four more suicide attacks against al-Qaa tonight. Its church and municipality building were targeted. The Lebanese army and security forces are reported to be clashing with terrorists in the village and its outskirts. The army is urging residents to stay in their homes.




> UPDATE: al-Qaa residents are forming neighborhood watch armed groups
Al-Jadeed has reported that al-Qaa residents have formed neighborhood watch armed groups in case the village gets attacked again during the night. Photos posted on Facebook show some of these groups.



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