Iran’s ambassador in Lebanon accused Israel of being responsible for a blast that rocked the Iranian embassy in Beirut, killing at least 23 people Tuesday.
Ghazanfar Rokn Abadi told Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen television that “the agents of the Zionist entity Israel are behind the blasts,” according to a translation provided by the Naharnet news site.
“This terrorist attack will not affect us,” he reportedly added, “but it will make us stronger and more convinced of our stances.”
Veteran Israeli lawmaker MK Tzachi Hanegbi rejected the accusations, saying that it is sometimes “humoristic” that Israel is blamed for everything bad happening in the Middle East.
“A country that is perpetrating terror all over the world, maybe feels” comfortable accusing others of the same, and “Israel is there to blame,” he told reporters at a briefing organized by The Israel Project. “There are things that we do that we do take responsibility for, because they have to do with Israel’s security. But Israel’s security gains nothing from bloodshed in Beirut or in any other Arab state,” he added.
The Abdullah Azzam Brigades, a group linked to al-Qaeda, later claimed responsibility for the blast, according to Reuters.
The attack is likely the result of tensions in Lebanon following Hezbollah’s decision to fight in Syria on President Bashar Assad’s side in the civil war in that country, at Iran’s behest, said Hanegbi, a member of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
Jerusalem played “no part” in Tuesday’s attack, and “of course Israel had nothing to do with such attacks in the past,” Hanegbi added.
Syria’s Minister of Information Omran Ahed Al Zoubi said Tuesday that it was countries like Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states that “spread terror” in the region, according to a Ynet News report.
Zoubi said the Beirut attack could only have been carried out by a large team such as those fielded by governments and intelligence organizations.
The attack, believed by Lebanese authorities to have been carried out by a suicide bomber on foot or motorcycle, followed by a car bomb, injured some 140 people, damaged several buildings and destroyed at least 10 vehicles.
Among those killed was the Iranian cultural attache.