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Twin bomb blasts claim lives in Lebanese city of Tripoli

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Twin bomb blasts claim lives in Lebanese city of Tripoli
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At least 29 people are reported to have been killed and more than 350 injured in two bomb blasts in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, according to the country’s health minister, Ali Hassan Khalil.

Car bombs were detonated almost simultaneously outside two mosques after Friday prayers.

“I see seven bodies inside several burned cars,” said one eyewitness, speaking from near the Taqwa mosque, which is frequented by Sunni Islamist hardliners, where the first blast occurred. At least 14 people were killed there.

A security source told Reuters that a number of people died in the second blast outside the al-Salam mosque.

There was a deep crater outside the al-Salam mosque, surrounded by a large blast zone of crushed and burning cars. People ran through the streets, some of them carrying the bloodied bodies of the wounded.

Soon after the bombings, gunmen took to the streets of Tripoli firing into the air. Near the blast sites, angry men threw rocks at Lebanese soldiers examining the aftermath.

The explosions came a week after a huge blast killed at least 24 people in a southern suburb of Beirut, a Shi’ite Hezbollah militant group stronghold.

Sectarian tension in Lebanon is being stoked by the conflict in neighbouring Syria. Many of Lebanon’s Shi’ite Muslims support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is fighting a largely Sunni insurgency against his rule.