Death toll from Beirut bomb at 27

AFP-JIJI

The death toll from a car bombing that ripped through a Beirut stronghold of the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah has risen to at least 27, the Health Ministry said Saturday. The toll is the highest in Lebanon since a massive car bomb attack on the Beirut seafront killed Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and 22 others in February 2005.

The previously unknown Battalion of Aisha group said it carried out the attack because of Hezbollah’s involvement in the Syria war.

Also Saturday, al-Qaida loyalists attacked a mainly Kurdish town in northeastern Syria, sparking fighting in which 18 people were killed, two of them ambulance crew. The assault on the strategic border town of Ras al-Ain, from which the jihadists were expelled by Kurdish militiamen in July, sparked an exodus of civilians into neighboring Turkey, an activist said.

The attack on the town was part of a wider offensive by al-Qaida against several Kurdish majority areas of northern and northeastern Syria that began on Friday and was continuing on Saturday.