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Iran condemns Beirut bombings, blames Israeli 'agents'

AFP , Wednesday 19 Feb 2014
Lebanese Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq (C) inspects the site of an explosion near the Iranian cultural centre in the southern suburbs of Beirut February 19, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)
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Iran's Foreign Ministry on Wednesday condemned a double suicide car bombing near an Iranian cultural centre in Beirut, blaming Israeli "agents" for the attack that left four people dead.

"There is no doubt that perpetrators of this terrorist act are the enemies of stability, security and unity of Lebanon," ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said in a statement carried by the official IRNA news agency.

"(They) are agents of the Zionist (Israeli) regime who have been frustrated by the formation of a new government that includes all parties and tribes in Lebanon," she added.

Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam on Saturday unveiled a compromise government, capping 10 months of political wrangling during which the war in Syria exacerbated sectarian tensions.

Lebanon's Health Minister Wael Abu Faour said four people were killed in Wednesday's bombings that also wounded at least 100 others.

IRNA earlier reported that the blast took place near its office in Beirut, as well as that of the state broadcaster IRIB.

The Beirut attack -- linked to the conflict in neighbouring Syria whose regime is fiercely supported by Tehran -- was quickly claimed by the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, a jihadist group inspired by Al-Qaeda.

The group had previously claimed an attack against Iran's embassy in Beirut, located in a southern stronghold of the Tehran-backed Lebanese Shia movement Hezbollah.

Hezbollah is fighting alongside Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's troops against Sunni-led rebels.

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