27 killed in Tripoli blast: Lebanon health ministry

27 killed in Tripoli blast: Lebanon health ministry
Fri Aug 23, 2013 16:05:25

Twenty seven people have been killed and 358 more have been injured after two blasts hit Lebanese northern city of Tripoli, Health Minister Ali Hassan Khalil has announced.

Two subsequent explosions near two mosques rocked Tripoli on Friday.

Latest death toll was announced by the health ministry which said 28 people lost their lives in the blasts which targeted crowds who were leaving the Friday prayer ceremony.

The first blast occurred near the Taqwa Mosque at 1.30 p.m. where Salafist Sheikh Salem al-Rafei was delivering a sermon.

Rafei, according to Sheikh Nabil Raheem, was unharmed.

Minutes later a second blast rocked Maarad Street, near the Salam Mosque. The sermon delivered at that mosque was Salafist preacher Bilal Baroudi.

“It was as if there was an earthquake, the whole city seemed to be shaking,” Nada Fallah, whose home is located near the Salam Mosque, was quoted by The Daily Star.

At least seven people were killed from the Taqwa Mosque blast, according to the sources, while three were killed in the latter explosion.

Thick plumes of black smoke blanketed Tripoli’s sky, as emergency response units rushed to the scene of the explosions.

Shattered glass and wreckage strewn the streets that were filled with the wounded.

Dozens of cars and nearby buildings in the immediate vicinity of the mosques were set on fire as panicked residents pulled the wounded from the rubble.

Initial damage reports indicated that parts of the ceiling at the Taqwa Mosque had collapsed.