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Man Blows Himself Up during Security Raid at Raouche Hotel, 11 Hurt

A man blew himself up at a hotel in the Beirut area of Raouche on Wednesday as General Security members stormed his room.

TV footage showed broken windows and flames shooting from the third and fourth floors of the Duroy Hotel, located in Raouche, close to the sea.

According to Lebanese Red Cross director George Kettaneh, eleven people were injured in the blast, including seven civilians and four General Security members.

They were all rushed to the American University of Beirut Medical Center.

“Ambulances have been scrambled to the blast scene where a suicide bomber blew himself up inside his room at the Duroy Hotel in Raouche during a General Security raid,” al-Jadeed television reported.

MTV said the suicide bomber was a Saudi national and quoted security sources as saying that “there are no other terrorists in the hotel.”

Later on Wednesday, state-run National News agency said "it has been confirmed that the suicide bomber is 20-year-old Saudi national Abdul Rahman al-Humaiqi.”

“The raid was a continuation of the security operation that started at Hamra's Napoleon Hotel and security forces are still tight-lipped over the information,” LBCI TV said, noting that “the security operation is still underway in search for possible bombs and booby-trapped cars in the hotel and its vicinity.”

Quoting reports, LBCI said “another suicide bomber might be inside the hotel and negotiations are ongoing to thwart him from blowing himself up.”

Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq inspected the blast scene, saying “three General Security members were lightly wounded.”

He confirmed that a Saudi would-be suicide bomber was wounded in the blast, describing the security raid as “a preemptive strike by the General Security agency.”

Meanwhile, the shadowy Free Sunnis of Baalbek Brigade claimed responsibility for the bombing on its Twitter account, saying “other jihadists” managed to flee the blast scene.

“Our blessed operations will not be merciful on (Hizbullah), the Crusader army (Lebanese Army) and anyone targeting the free jihadists,” the group threatened.

“The victory that is being achieved by the Islamic State of Iraq (and the Levant) against (Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri) al-Maliki's army is a motivation for every jihadist in the world,” the Brigade added.

State Commissioner to the Military Court Judge Saqr Saqr said a suspect was arrested at the hotel, revealing that three General Security members were wounded.

“Two Saudi suicide bombers were at the hotel in Raouche and security forces arrested one while the other blew himself up,” al-Jadeed TV said.

It added that two General Security members were “critically wounded.”

The TV network said three men of Arab nationalities were arrested at the hotel.

OTV said “two suicide bombers of Gulf nationalities” blew themselves up as their room was raided.

It said the raid at the hotel had to do with “the cell that was arrested in the North.”

LBCI said “a suitcase containing seven kilos of explosives was found in the possession of the two suicide bombers at the Duroy Hotel.”

For its part, NNA said a booby-trapped suitcase was discovered in the vicinity of the Duroy Hotel.

“The arrested would-be suicide bomber is from the al-Swainy family and he was born in 1995,” MTV said.

The General Security raid followed the arrest last Friday in a hotel in the nearby Hamra district of the capital of a Frenchman of Comoran origin on suspicion of plotting to carry out suicide bombings in Lebanon on behalf of the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group.

That is the same group that has spearheaded the offensive by Sunni Arab militants that has swept up a big swathe of northern and north-central Iraq over the past two weeks and also made gains in neighboring Syria.

On Monday, the al-Akhbar newspaper reported that investigators suspected the detained Frenchman was part of a cell of four would-be suicide bombers who had entered Lebanon.

The same night, a young, off-duty General Security inspector was killed as he stopped a car driving the wrong way up a street towards a cafe in the Tayyouneh district of south Beirut whose driver then blew it up.

The bomber also wounded 12 other people.

Y.R.


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