A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Burj al-Barajineh Bombings

Today's bombings in Beirut's Burj al-Burajineh neighborhood,which killed at least 41 and wounded 200 or more, is the worst bombing attack in terms of its human toll since the Lebanese Civil War.And the Islamic State is reportedly claiming credit. This appears to be the worst blowback yet in Beirut from Syria's civil war and an ill omen for Lebanon.

Several headlines I've seen in Western media refer to the attacks as being in a "Hizbullah stronghold." I think that's an unfortunate choice of words, as it suggests Hizbullah was the target. One bomb went off near a a Shi‘ite mosque and the other at a bakery: civilians were the target, in one of the most densely populated areas of the city. The civilians may have been targeted because they are Shi‘ites, but referring to it as a "Hizbullah stronghold" distracts from the reality that the victims are civilians, not Hizbullah fighters.

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