An explosion rocked the Southern Suburbs of Beirut on the Anniversary of the July War 2006 at 6:18 PM Lebanese time. This is the second bomb penetrating Dahieh, Beirut’s Southern Suburbs in recent months. The explosion took place in the Ruwais area of Dahieh covering the main road of Ruwais and Bir al-Abed. Immediately after the blast, ambulances and fire brigades were seen rushing to the scene. Residents of the Southern Suburbs stated that they were paying the price for their victory over Israel in 2006.
Dozens of cars were damaged by the explosion. Fire fighters and civil defense workers shuffled to evacuate a number of citizens trapped inside of the buildings surrounding the area. Al-Mayadeen initially maintained that 10 civilians were reportedly deceased and 80 were injured. However, casualties have now risen to 21 deceased and 336 injured. Dahieh is one of the more densely populated areas of Beirut. Salafist groups and/or Israel are believed to be behind the attack on the residential area.
Kuwait’s Al-Rai newspaper reported that on Friday night, the Internal Security Forces Intelligence Bureau carried out three raids in Beirut to arrest suspects linked to Thursday’s Dahieh blast. A Lebanese national, Syrians, and Palestinians were arrested in a raid in the Tariq al-Jadideh neighborhood.
Although Dahieh is predominantly Shia, Sunni and Christian communities also reside in the area. The Shia are a persecuted group throughout the Middle East, despite their political or apolitical affiliation. The building near which the explosion went off had been destroyed once before during the July War of 2006 and was apparently rebuilt. Al-Akhbar reported on a video was posted online less than half and hour after the explosion. In the video, a hooded man flanked by two other weapon-toting men wearing hoods claims the Aisha Brigades for External Mission were responsible for the Ruwais blast.
Immediately after the blast, the Washington Post, the Daily Star, CNN, Fox News, the New York Times and the BBC controversially referred to Beirut’s southern suburb as a “Hezbollah stronghold”. The effort to name and frame a civilian area became contested with netizens openly expressing their anger over the reporting. Reducing the area to a “Hezbollah stronghold” was flagged by these critics as a deliberate attempt to frame the terror attacks against civilians in an area as justified and acceptable.