Suicide blasts hit Iranian Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon

Suicide blasts hit Iranian Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon

Credit: CBS News

The blasts in south Beirut's neighborhood of Janah also caused extensive damage on the nearby buildings and the Iranian mission.

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by CBS News & Associated Press

khou.com

Posted on November 19, 2013 at 8:50 AM

BEIRUT -- Two suicide blasts struck Tuesday near the Iranian Embassy in the Lebanese capital of Beirut, killing at least 23 people.

The Lebanese health minister said 146 more people were injured in the blasts.

Iranian Ambassador Ghazanfar Roknabadi said cultural attache Sheikh Ibrahim Ansari was among the dead. Speaking to Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV, he said Ansari took his post in Lebanon a month ago and was overseeing all regional cultural activities.

The blasts in south Beirut's neighborhood of Janah also caused extensive damage on the nearby buildings and the Iranian mission. The area is a stronghold of the militant Hezbollah group, which is a main ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad in the civil war next door. It's not clear if the blasts are related to Syria's civil war.

The neighborhood has been hit by several explosions in the past weeks that killed and wounded scores.

While suicide attacks are a frequent tactic for Hezbollah and Iran's sectarian rivals in al Qaeda and other Sunni extremist groups -- including the terror network's branch fighting alongside rebels in Syria -- Roknabadi blamed Israel for the attack in his interview with Al-Manar.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry in Tehran quickly followed suit, blaming the double bomb attack on terrorists "commissioned" by Israel.

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and watch the report at CBSNews.com.

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