Lebanon arrests nine over deadly Beirut bombings

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Lebanon had arrested nine people, mostly Syrians, suspected of having links to twin bomb attacks that killed 43 in the capital Beirut earlier in the week, Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq announced Sunday.

Al-Mashnouq said those arrested were seven Syrians and two Lebanese, and that one of the Lebanese was a people smuggler who helped the Syria’s sneak into Lebanon.

Thursday’s suicide attacks occurred in the area of Bourj al-Barajneh in Beirut’s southern suburbs, a stronghold of the pro-Iranian Lebanese Hezbollah movement.

The Islamic State extremist militia, which rules vast territory in Syria, claimed responsibility for the attacks, the first to target Beirut’s southern suburbs since June 2014.

Al-Mashnouq said the bombers had originally planned to attack a big hospital run by Hezbollah in the area, but changed the target due to tight security.

Violence from Syria has spilled over into Lebanon since Hezbollah started fighting alongside the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to quell an uprising that started against his rule in 2011.

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