Lebanon: 42 dead as car bomb explosions hit Tripoli

Lebanese Red Cross says at least 500 people here hurt

Twin car bomb explosions have killed at least 42 people outside two Sunni mosques in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli.

Footage aired on local television showed think, black smoke billowing over the city, with bodies lying by burning cars, reminding the country of its 1975-90 civil war.

The explosions came amid rising tensions in Lebanon resulting from neighbouring Syria's civil war, polarising the country along sectarian lines and between supporters and opponents of President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

This incident was the second such bombing in just over a week, showing the extent to which the country is being caught up in its neighbour's war.

Tripoli has previously seen clashes between Sunnis and Alawites, a Shiite offshoot sect to which Mr Assad belongs. But such violent explosions have been rare in recent years, with Friday's blasts marking the first time in years that such attacks have been made on Sunni areas. These were also the deadliest explosions in Tripoli since the civil war came to an end.

One of the blasts occurred outside the Taqwa mosque, where Sheik Salem Rafei, a Salafi cleric opposed to Lebanon's militant Shiite Hezbollah group, usually worships. It is not yet clear whether he was inside. According to accounts earlier in the day at leat 14 people were killed.

The second device went off roughly five minutes later in the Mina area of Tripoli near to the front gate of the Salam Mosque, making a 5 metre-wide crater outside. Video footage obtained by local news channel LBC shows how the explosion ripped through a wall of the mosque, showering people sitting on prayer mats with clouds of dust

The explosions were set to go off during Friday prayers.

The imams of both mosques are outspoken opponents of Mr Assad and Hezbollah. 

There has been no claim of responsibility for Friday's attacks, which raised the grim possibility of 'tit-for-tat' sectarian fighting between Sunnis and Shiites that has blighted Iraq since the 2003 invasion.

Hezbollah has condemned the bombings, calling it a "terrorist bombing" and part of a "criminal project that aims to sow the seeds of civil strife between the Lebanese and drag them into sectarian and ethnic infighting." The group released a strongly worded statement expressing, "utmost solidarity and unity with our brothers in the beloved city of Tripoli."

The U.S. Embassy in Lebanon has condemned the bombings and called on all parties to exercise calm and restraint. 
 

Additional reporting by AP and Reuters

News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Associate Recrutiment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...

Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

PMLD Teacher

Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain