Security Officials in Lebanon have arrested nine suspects, the majority of which are Syrians, following two Islamic State (IS) bombings in Beirut which killed 44 people. The twin attacks took place on Thursday (12 November) evening in the Lebanese capital's Shia-majority district of Borj al-Barajneh.
They left a further 240 people wounded in the Hezbollah stronghold in southern Beirut, as two bombers blew themselves up within five minutes and 150 metres (490 feet) of one another. Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying that the "soldiers of the Caliphate" detonated the explosives that were concealed on a motorbike.
It was Beirut's most deadly bombing in 25 years and seven Syrians and two Lebanese have been detained in connection with the expolsions. Interior Minister Nuhad Mashnouq said that the nine suspects were detained at a Palestinian refugee camp in Burj al-Barajneh and a flat in the district of Ashrafieh - where explosive belts had been constructed.
In the past month alone, IS has claimed responsibility for downing a Russian jet killing all 224 people on board, the bombings in Beirut and Friday's terrorist attacks in Paris which claimed the lives of at least 132 people.
Interior Minister Nuhad Mashnouq said: "Until now the detained include seven Syrians and two Lebanese, one of them a (would-be) suicide bomber and the other a trafficker who smuggled them across the border from Syria," according to Al Arabiya. "The whole suicide bombing network and its supporters were arrested in the 48 hours following the explosion."
He added that IS were apparently attempting to send five suicide bombers into a hospital but heavy security forced them to target a densely populated area instead. The attackers detonated their explosives at 6:00pm local time (4:00pm GMT) with one jihadist blowing himself up outside a Shia mosque while the other blast took place near a bakery, just yards from the hospital.
A third suicide bomber was reportedly killed before he had time to detonate his vest. Islamic State said the terrorists were two Palestinians and a Syrian. Lebanese Prime Minister, Tammam Salam said after the attack: "We condemn this cowardly criminal act that can never be justified, and we call on the Lebanese to be more watchful and united against strife."
South Beirut was the scene of a spate of deadly explosions in 2013 and 2014, with al-Qaeda affiliates claiming responsibility for the attacks in retaliation to Hezbollah's support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.