9 held in deadly Beirut bombings

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Lebanese interior minister says 9 people arrested in connection with bombings

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the Thursday explosions that killed more than 40 people

CNN  — 

Nine people have been arrested in connection with a pair of deadly bombings in Beirut, Lebanon’s interior minister said Monday.

Terror group ISIS claimed responsibility for the Thursday attacks that left more than 40 people dead in south Beirut, traditionally a stronghold for Hezbollah militants. CNN hasn’t confirmed the authenticity of that claim.

Seven of the suspects are Syrian and two are Lebanese, Interior Minister Nuhad Mashnuq said.

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A would-be suicide bomber who survived the attack told investigators he was an ISIS recruit, a Lebanese security source told CNN.

Lebanese intelligence believes the bombers could be part of a cell dispatched to Beirut by ISIS leadership, the source said, but investigators are still working to verify the surviving suspect’s claim. The three other bombers were killed in the explosions.

The explosions detonated within 150 meters (490 feet) and five minutes of each other, Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency said, shaking an open-air market and other parts of the Bourj al-Barajneh district in southern Beirut.

At least 239 others were wounded, according to the National News Agency.

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In addition to the human toll, the explosions damaged at least four nearby buildings. Video distributed by Reuters showed a dramatic scene in the bombings’ aftermath, with rescue workers carrying out victims past piles of rubble and through a mass of people.

ISIS, which does not have a large presence in Lebanon, claimed responsibility for a car bombing in the capital last year.

The country has seen plenty of violence involving numerous parties in recent decades, including the current fallout from the bloody civil war in neighboring Syria.