Kaylyn Hlavaty
Last updated: 19 November, 2013

Eyewitness reports from the Beirut bombing

“I heard an explosion and went outside on the balcony to see what it was. I saw the first fire then all of sudden the second explosion happened,” said 23-year-old Nadine.

“I saw the fire around the cars and the pressure in the air pushed me to the ground and glass shattered,” she continued quietly.

Nadine was one of seventy patients in Al Zahraa hospital receiving treatment for her cuts. She is one of the many people injured in the twin suicide-bombing explosion that took place near the Iranian Embassy in El-Jnah on Tuesday, killing at least 23 people. The blasts were a couple of blocks from the embassy. One bomber was driving a car and the other a motorcycle.

Al Zahraa hospital was one of the first response centers for the victims of the bombings. Outside families of the deceased were curled on the ground crying for their loss and inside the hospital there was a somber scene lingering just hours after the blasts.

A Syrian worker who didn’t want to be identified said he was working outside as usual when he first heard the bombings.

“I heard the blast just down the street and I knew there was probably going to be a second. I grabbed my friends and called them all inside and that’s when the second one hit,” said the Syrian man. He was another lucky one who escaped the deadly blasts with only cuts and bruises.

Mohamad Shaito who is the general manager of Al Zahraa hospital said that in an emergency situation like this, the hospital has trained surgeons and personnel on site. He said there are eight operating rooms inside the hospital to accommodate as many people as possible. So far, Shaito said there are 70 people injured and seven who passed away in the hospital.

Isslam Mourbarak-Dia lives in Khaldeh, which is about less than a ten minute, drive from Bir Hassan. She awoke with calls from family members in the US and in Lebanon wondering if she was okay because her husband’s parents reside just down the street from the Iranian embassy. Everyone figured that she might be in the neighborhood.

“My husband and I quickly went to check on his parents to see if they were okay. My father in law works on the same block as the places the bombs exploded.”

Dia said that a couple people ran out of a nearby building after the first bombing to see what happened. Her father in law just walked because he couldn’t run. One of the men who ran is a friend of her and her husband. He is now missing.

“We checked all the nearby hospitals and there is no word of him. We are assuming the worst because if the second blast shattered all the windows of the surrounding buildings, imagine what it would do to someone standing on the street,” Dia said.

Like Dia and her family, many others are in the same situation, looking for answers and closure. She notes how these suicide bombings did not occur as often before the Syrian war.

“Yes Lebanon is known for wars. Our civil war. Our war with Israel. But we are not known for suicide bombings and now we are becoming known for them.”