Schools and universities were shut as people gathered in Beirut's southern district of Bourj al-Barajneh to mourn the victims of the deadly attacks. Claimed by the Islamic State, the explosions killed 45 people and were the first attacks in more than a year to target a Hezbollah stronghold inside Lebanon, and came at time when the group is stepping up its involvement in the Syrian civil war.
Lebanese army and Hezbollah men inspect the damage caused by two suicide bombs in a busy area of Beirut's southern district of Bourj al-Barajneh. The twin blasts that killed 45 and wounded more than 200 were claimed by the Islamic State. The explosions were the first attacks in more than a year to target a Hezbollah stronghold in Lebanon, and came at a time when the group is stepping up its involvement in the Syrian civil war.
On the night of January 3, 2014, unknown men invaded and torched Al-Saeh library, in Tripoli, also known as the Traveler’s Library, destroying thousands of books and manuscripts. The attack came after false rumors circulated that its owner, Father Ibrahim Sarouj, a Greek Orthodox priest, had written an article insulting Islam. Many say the incident was an attempt to incite sectarian violence in Tripoli.
A picture of General Wissam al-Hassan is seen on a street of downtown Beirut on October 20, 2012. He was killed the previous day, along with seven other people, by a car bomb in the Achrafieh district of Beirut. Mr. Hassan, who was regarded as an opponent of the Syrian regime, was the head of the information branch of Lebanon's Internal Security Forces and one of the country's key security officials. His assassination came a few months after he investigated the smuggling of bombs from Syria with the help of Syrian Security officials.
On August 15, 2013, the son of NGO executive Salha Nasser was about to leave their apartment to get a hair cut when an explosion shook the whole building in the Rweiss district of South Beirut. The car bomb killed 24 people, including the barber. The blast, came amid sectarian tensions over the intervention of Shia Muslim Hezbollah in Syria's civil war. A radical Sunni group, the Brigades of Aisha, claimed responsibility for the attack.
Bab al-Tabbaneh, Tripoli, northern Lebanon. Since the end of the Lebanese civil war, Sunni-majority Bab al-Tabbaneh and Alawite-majority Jabal Mohsen, have been fighting sporadically. The start of the Syrian civil war in 2011 increased the violence between the two neighborhoods but a fragile truce has been in place for almost two years now.
Sunni worshipers pray inside the al-Salam mosque in Tripoli, northern Lebanon. On August 23, 2013, as locals were finishing the Friday prayers a coordinated car bomb attack hit both the al-Salam and al-Taqwa mosques killing 42 people, wounding hundreds and increasing the sectarian tensions in Lebanon, The explosions came a week after a car bomb killed 24 people in the Rweiss district of south Beirut, a Shi'ite area.
Bab al-Tabbaneh resident Tareq Hebbewe, 24, Tripoli. Once a Sunni militiaman wielding an AK-47 and participating in clashes against Alawite armed groups from neighbor Jabal Mohsen, Tareq, thanks to the initiative of a local NGO, has recently embraced theater as a way to alert people about the real causes of the violence: endemic unemployment and an absent government.
A resident of Bab al-Tabbaneh walks with her family on Syria street, Tripoli. Syria street runs right between Sunni-majority Bab al-Tabbaneh and Alawite-majority Jabal Mohsen. The start of the Syrian civil war in 2011 increased the violence between the two areas but a fragile truce has been in place for almost a year now. Both are economically deprived neighborhoods.
Salim Ibrahim, a lambskin exporter from Tripoli, northern Lebanon. Prior to the Syrian conflict he used trucks to transport his goods through Syria and beyond however he now must transport by sea, which is more expensive, takes longer and there is higher risk of product loss. His income is a quarter of what it used to be.
An empty restaurant in the downtown area of Beirut. A travel warning issued by Gulf states (S.Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and the UAE) advising its citizens to stop traveling to Lebanon has hurt the local economy. Hundreds of restaurants have closed especially in Beirut’s upmarket downtown area, and many other tourism-related firms have gone out of business.
Residents from Jabal Mohsen, a majority-Alawite area, play cards at a local coffee house, Tripoli, Lebanon. Since the start of the civil war in Syria, sectarian tensions between Alawites and Sunnis caused multiple armed clashes between Jabal Mohsen and Bab al-Tabbaneh. The implementation of a security plan has brought the army to the streets and the fighting stopped.
Jabal Mohsen resident and former Alawite fighter, Ali Amoun, 21, Tripoli. When he was 15, Ali sold his motorbike to buy his first AK-47; today he rejects the violence and thanks to the initiative of a local NGO, he also embraced theater as a way to alert people about the real causes of the violence between the two neighborhoods: endemic unemployment and an absent government.
The portrait of Mahmud Hussein Hassan, a Jabal Mohsen resident, decorates the entrance of a residential building. Mr. Hassan died when he tried to prevent one of two suicide bombers from detonating their explosives. The double suicide bombing targeted a Jabal Mohsen coffee house and killed nine people. It was carried out on January 9, 2015, by two Lebanese men associated with the Al-Nusra Front, a Sunni radical group.
Lebanese and Syrian women work together in a community kitchen in the Bekaa Valley. With more than 1.5 million registered Syrian refugees living in Lebanon today, sometimes anti-Syrian sentiments arise in certain areas. Initiatives like this help to integrate both host and refugee communities and reduce tensions between them.
Hajar (left), 27, and Hiam, 28, inside their tent, in a makeshift refugee settlement located in the Bekaa Valley, east Lebanon. Originally from Aleppo, the two women, like the majority of other Syrian refugees living in the same conditions, struggle to pay rent, electricity and feed their families. A recent report by the UNHCR says that 70% of Syrian refugees live bellow the poverty line (U$ 3.84 in Lebanon) and 90% are in debt.
Rifaat Nasrallah, the leader of the Lebanese Resistance Brigade, a Christian paramilitary militia, Ras Baalbek, northern Lebanon. Nasrallah formed the Brigade after fighters from ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, began cross border incursions to attack and kidnap residents. His men are trained and armed by Hezbollah.
Ras Baalbek, northern Lebanon, November 14, 2015. Hundreds of Ras Baalbek residents have taken up arms to defend their families, homes and businesses since Islamist militants from ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra reinforced their positions in the mountains along the Syrian border, a few miles from the town.
A Lebanese Shiite man takes part of the 2nd day of the Ashura celebrations in Dahieh, South Beirut. Fearing attacks because of its military presence in Syria, Hezbollah has tightened security in Shiite-populated areas of Lebanon during the sacred 10-day Shiite holyday of Ashura which commemorates the martyrdom of Imam Hussein in the Battle of Karbala in 680. The celebration has become a focal point for sectarian terror attacks in the past decade.