The Sunni-Shia bellum sanctum returns to Hezbollah's security zone
Burj al-Barajneh Palestinian camp, Beirut
At least 45 confirmed deaths as families appear to claim their departed loved ones and nearly 250 wounded, many seriously, are being treated at the three Shia run hospitals, Al-Sahel, Bahman and Al-Rassoul Al-Aazam in this observer's south Beirut neighborhood of Haret Hreik.
All are victims of the 6 p.m. rush hour terrorist bombings in Hezbollah's security zone on 11/12/2015 that targeted civilians who were shopping at street markets or gathering at the local Husseiniyeh (Mosque) for the fourth of the five daily prayers, Salat al-Magrib, held in the early evening just after sunset.
At dawns first light on 11/13/2015 this observer returned to Ain al-Sikkeh street near the Burj al Barajneh Palestinian camp and was briefed by Hezbollah security officials and eye-witnesses. There were reportedly 4 young men suicide bombers involved. Each wore a suicide vest packed with approximately 20 kilos of high explosives including ball bearings, nails, screws, and bolts to produce maximum deadly shrapnel. One security source claimed that the plastic explosive C-4 was used and the terrorist employed a battery as a detonator. If true, this would seem to indicate a well-planned operation with a major sponsor from the escalating proxy war next door in Syria, due to the difficulty of locals coming up with C-4, even in Lebanon, these days.
One of the 4 suicide bombers reportedly got cold feet as happens in about 10% of these kinds of events according to a military source. The young man died when his partner evidently sensed his failing courage and detonated his own explosive vest. He was killed by the blast but his own explosive vest did not detonate from the concussion and surely will be studied for forensic evident. One of the 4 reportedly fled the scene, according to army guys at the camp checkpoint near Burj Barajneh Palestinian camp and one shouted "He fled back into burj." (burj al barajneh camp). This has not been verified but a search has been beefed up this morning.
The bombings were the first in Hezbollah's security zone for more than a year. Between July 2013 and February 2014, there were nine attacks on Hezbollah bastions, most claimed by jihadist extremists, six of which were in this observer's neighborhood. In every case the perpetrators claimed the attacks were in response for Hezbollah's decision to send thousands of fighters into neighboring Syria to support forces fighting against the now Islamist-dominated uprising.
The extremist Islamic State (ISIS/Da'ish) group claimed yesterday's attack issuing a statement within two hours of the bombings: "Soldiers of the Caliphate detonated explosives planted on a motorbike in an area frequented by Rafida (Shiites) after the apostates gathered in the area, one of the knights of martyrdom detonated his explosive belt in the midst of them." IS subsequently issued another statement identifying three of the attackers as two Palestinians and a Syrian. More than 2000 Palestinians from Yarmouk camp and Syrian refugees from that country's nearly five year war have moved in desperation into Burj al Barajneh camp.
One commander was quoted in Beirut's Daily Star this morning as shouting to his men during the chaos: "I want men at every entrance of the camps" (Burj al Barajneh and Shatila). "You will stand in front of the entrance and fire in the air. I want them to be afraid," he reportedly said, referring to the residents of the Palestinian refugee camp of Burj al-Barajneh. "The only way they could have done this is if they came from that camp," one of the security gunmen told The Daily Star. "We will seal it. We are out for blood and we will get it." He claimed that the suicide bombers had made their way from the Palestinian camp and headed on foot toward the husseiniyeh before detonating themselves at its doorstep.