Minst to selvmordsbombere slo til mot Hizbollahs kjerneområder i Beirut. IS påtok seg ansvaret. Al-Manar-tv sier 41 er drept og 200 såret. Tallene kan stige.

In the worst attack to hit the Lebanese capital in years, assailants targeted a southern suburb where many loyalists of the powerful Shiite Hezbollah militia live. The incident killed at least 37 people, officials said, and left little doubt that the attackers struck with the intent of stirring up Lebanon’s volatile sectarian divisions.

Hezbollah is fighting alongside government forces against the Sunni-led rebellion in Syria, drawing the ire of such militantly anti-Shiite groups as the Islamic State. Lebanon faced a string of similar bombings more than a year ago that also targeted the largely Shiite areas of Beirut.

In statement translated by the SITE Intelligence Group, the Islamic State said the first bomber struck with an explosives-rigged motorcycle, followed by a second assailant wearing a suicide vest.

The statement, published on Twitter and other social-networking platforms, said the group targeted the Hezbollah “stronghold,” killing more than 40 people and wounding over 200. The statement’s authenticity could not be independently verified.

Lebanese Health Minister Wael Abu Faour said a third suicide bomber was killed in the explosion of the second attacker, stopping him from detonating his payload in the Burj al-Barajinah neighborhood of Beirut. The other two bombers struck close together in the notoriously congested area of the city during rush hour, apparently trying to maximize the number of victims, who included children, Lebanese officials said.

Dette er ikke de første angrepene på Hizbollah på deres egne områder, men det har ikke vært lignende angrep på over et år, og ikke så kraftige. Dette var mer som i Bagdad: Med to bomber som går av i tett befolkede områder, med kort mellomrom, for å skade flest mulig.

The bombings had stopped about a year-and-a-half ago after a Hezbollah offensive along the Syria-Lebanon border that snuffed out the militants who had been directing attacks in the capital. Those militants were linked to such extremist groups as Jabhat al-Nusra, Syria’s al-Qaeda affiliate, as well as the Islamic State.

The lull in bombings also resulted from greater cooperation between Hezbollah and Lebanon’s Sunni politicians. That coordination became more urgent as the Islamic State began making rapid territorial gains in Iraq and Syria and appeared to threaten Lebanon’s tenuous stability.

Over the last year, much of Beirut’s Shiite-dominated southern suburbs have been put on lockdown, with checkpoints and patrols by the military and Hezbollah fighters closely scrutinizing all that comes into the area.

Thursday’s attack is a blow to Hezbollah’s security in the capital, and it comes as Lebanon increasingly struggles with the multifaceted fallout from the devastating civil war in neighboring Syria.