A strong explosion rocked the Lebanese capital Beirut Sunday night, killing no one and injuring two, multiple outlets reported. The explosion took place outside the local Blom Bank branch in the Verdun neighborhood, south of downtown. The interior minister has said the bank was the target of the explosion.
It didn’t take long for rumors of Hezbollah’s involvement to surface, although there's no evidence to the claim at present. The hashtag #Hezbollah_blows_up_the_bank started trending within hours of the attack. Many on Twitter blamed the group for the attack.
هيدا الحزب الارهابي ما فيه يكون شريك بالوطن وهو عدو الشعب والوطن#حزب_الله_يفجر_المصارف— nissrine merheb (@NisrinMerheb) June 12, 2016
This terrorist party has no participation in the nation and is its and the people's enemy.
Still, others felt that Hezbollah was blamed too quickly, given the lack of evidence.
There's a possibility that hezbollah did it, but I find it baffling that there's already a #حزب_الله_يفجر_المصارف hashtag.— Mustapha Hamoui (@Beirutspring) June 12, 2016
There has been no confirmation of who is behind the attack thus far. Lebanon’s As-Safir daily reported that Hezbollah will release a statement concerning the attack shortly. Many speculated that the attack was meant to send a message rather than kill, as it occured while most area residents were off the streets eating dinner following a day of fasting for Ramadan.
Some of the speculation concerning Hezbollah stems from Lebanon’s compliance with a April 2016 U.S. law restricting financial dealings with the group. Many Lebanese banks shut Hezbollah-affiliated accounts down in recent weeks, including Blom Bank.
Several western embassies warned citizens against visiting tourist areas in the city this past week, including the Canadian embassy.
Perhaps inspired by public displays of solidarity with the victims of the mass shootings in the U.S. earlier, a #PrayForBeirut hashtag surfaced as well, despite nobody being killed in the attacks.
Still, much of Beirut remained unphased by the attack. As in times of much worse events, music could be heard blasting from the bars in the Mar Mikhael neighborhood a few kilometers east later in the evening.