Lebanon arrests 9 over Beirut bombings: Minister

Lebanon arrests 9 over Beirut bombings: Minister
A relative of Samer Huhu, who was killed in a twin bombing attack that rocked a busy shopping street in the area of Burj al-Barajneh, waves his portrait as she mourns during his funeral in the southern suburb of the capital Beirut on November 13, 2015.
PHOTO: AFP

Beirut - Lebanese security forces have arrested nine people, most of them Syrian nationals, over last week's twin bombings in Beirut that killed 44 people, the interior minister said Sunday.

"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," Interior Minister Nuhad Mashnuq said in a televised press conference.

The Islamic State jihadist group claimed responsibility for Thursday's attacks, which hit a busy shopping street in Burj al-Barajneh, a suburb where the Shiite movement Hezbollah is popular.

"The whole suicide bombing network and its supporters were arrested in the 48 hours following the explosion," Mashnuq said.

He said the Syrians were detained in a Palestinian refugee camp located in Burj al-Barajneh and a flat in the capital's eastern district of Ashrafieh that had been used to prepare the explosive belts.

The initial plan was apparently to send five suicide bombers to a hospital in the neighbourhood, he said, but heavy security forced them to change the target to a densely populated area.

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