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Jihadists target Lebanese Christian town in wave of suicide attacks

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Lebanon-Qaa map

al-Qaa (Qaa), a predominantly Christian village in north Lebanon, was violently attacked by a wave of 8 suicide bombings on June 27, 2016. Four suicide bombers struck in the village of Qaa early on Monday morning, causing the fatalities and wounding 15 people. That evening, as friends and family members of the victims gathered outside a church, two men on a motorcycle threw a grenade before blowing themselves up, wounding another 13.

Al monitor reported around 4am, four suicide bombers caught the attention of a local who had woke early to eat before fasting. Suspecting foul play, the resident took out a weapon and fired at one of them, who then blows himself up. Other neighbors and Lebanese soldiers ran to the site of the explosion, clashed with the other three suicide bombers, who detonated themselves subsequently at 10-minute intervals. A rescue worker carrying one of the wounded was killed during the second blast.

 

A security official said the evening explosions took place while families of those killed in the earlier bombings were gathering to prepare for funerals. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters. Lebanon’s official National News Agency said 13 people were wounded in the late night explosions.

Fr Elian Nasrallah, a local priest, said the explosions went off near the Saint Elias church and were followed by gunfire.

Following the attacks, the army urged people to avoid gatherings and to cooperate with authorities. Villagers were struck fear and panic and barricaded themselves indoors.

No organization has claimed the responsibility for the 8 attacks, but, experts believe it was ISIS fighters who crossed over   from nearby Syria.. Lebanon is a hosts huge numbers of refugees fleeing the Syrian war. It is claimed that ISIS fighters have sent their families to refugee camps in Lebanon. Their jihad subsidized by the disorganization of the international community.

The attacks raised tensions in Lebanon. Last week after meeting with Prime Minister Tamim Salaam, Lebanese security officials released a statement warning the al-Qaa attacks could be the “harbinger of a wave of terrorist operations.” Lebanese security forces stepped up efforts in arresting alleged IS sleeper cells in the north.

Lebanese Army have arrested over 200 refugees in wake of bombings. “It is our humane duty to protect the Syrian refugees, however we will never allow them to harm the Lebanese people.”

The Catholic Herald reported Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, while visiting Qaa, said the village formed part of a “fence” for Lebanon. “When a terrorist enters, he can go anywhere,” he said.

Bassil, heads the Free Patriotic Movement party, the largest Christian bloc in parliament. He sparked condemnation for calling on municipalities under his party’s control to ban any gathering or camps of Syrian refugees.

Bassil said he did not want to “tie any particular nationality or religion to terrorism.” But he said “no one can deny the reality that displacement will be used as a cover for terrorism.”

VOP note:

Please pray for peace and the people of Lebanon. Pray also for the strength in faith and endurance of our Lebanese Christian brothers and sisters.

 

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