ISIS Claims Responsibility For Beirut Attack That Kills 43, Injures More Than 200

| by Nik Bonopartis
Beirut, Lebanon panaromaBeirut, Lebanon panaroma

Coordinated bombings. More than 200 injured. Dozens killed. And the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, triumphantly claiming responsibility.

While the world had its eyes on Paris and the tragedy in France consumed the news cycle, news about the worst attack in years on Beirut was pushed off front pages and relegated to the end of newscasts.

The double suicide bombings in the Lebanese city Nov. 12 claimed 43 lives, and it was carried out with the same precision that marked the Paris attacks -- ISIS-affiliated terrorists riding motorcycles strapped with explosives into crowded areas of the city, IJ Review reported. The body of a third suicide bomber was also found after the attack, but his explosives belt was mostly intact, according to the New York Times reported.

The bombers targeted Bourj el-Barajneh, a "well known commercial and residential spot" in southern Beirut, al Jazeera reported. The well-traveled area lies just off a main route to Beirut's major airport, and the suicide bombers struck at about 6 p.m., a time when the surrounding streets were full of people, including families.

ISIS, which is composed and led by Sunni Muslims, claimed responsibility for the attacks, which reportedly targeted Shiite Muslims. ISIS views Shiites as "apostates," according to the Times' report, which described the attack as "baldly sectarian."

The Times described the neighborhood as working-class, populated by a mix of Christians, as well as refugees from Palestine and Syria. The neighborhood is under the protection of Hezbollah, and experts said the attack was at least in part aimed at targeting the paramilitary group, which also doubles as a political party in Lebanon.

"This is not an area where Hezbollah has security offices or anything," one witness told al Jazeera. "This is an area where there are children and women and normal people just doing their shopping."

Aside from its usual goal of terrorizing so-called apostates, ISIS was likely motivated to strike back at Hezbollah and Shiite Muslims who have been aiding the Syrian government in its fight to hold off ISIS, a Lebanese political analyst told al Jazeera.

"This is probably just to remind Hezbollah there are other [groups] who can take revenge," analyst Kamel Wazne said. "It might be, again, the beginning of a circle of violence for Beirut."

Sources: New York Times, al JazeeraIJ Review / Photo Credit: Sky News via IJ Review, Panoramas/Flickr