The New York Times reports the Taqwa and Al-Salam mosques, located on opposite sides of Tripoli were bombed at around 1:38 p.m. Lebanese officials say at least 42 people were killed and more than 500 wounded. The death toll is expected to climb.
On August 15, Hezbollah militants were initially suspected in a car bombing that rocked a busy shopping district in Beirut, Lebanon, killed 24 and wounded approximately 200 more innocent bystanders. Last Thursday's explosion in a Shiite suburb of Beirut marked the country’s deadliest bombing since the 1980's.
However, a Sunni opposition group claimed responsibility for last week's deadly attack near the headquarters of Hezbollah in Beirut. In a video taped statement addressed to Hezbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, a member of the Sunni radical group calling itself Brigades of Aisha said:
"This is the second time that we decide the place of the battle and its timing...And you will see more, God willing"
Lebanon, which borders Syria to the north and east and Israel to the south has increasingly become a stronghold for Hezbollah. The recent surge in conflicts between Lebanon's Shi'ite and Sunni population is the result of its close proximity to Syria.
The sectarian violence in Lebanon has been linked to the violence in neighboring Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad is fighting a largely Sunni-led rebellion. Both Hezbollah and radical Sunni groups in Lebanon have been considered instrumental in the June 2013 victory of Assad's Shi’ite regime in Qusair, near the border of Lebanon.
Hezbollah has been designated a terrorist organization by the United States Department of Homeland Security. DHS officials say there is evidence that Hezbollah cells are active in the United States.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has publicly condemned the bombings and called on all Lebanese people to "exercise restraint, to remain united, and to support their state institutions, particularly the security forces".
In a joint statement on Friday, Tripoli officials called on the Lebanese government to increase security in the city. Members of parliament accused the Syrian government for both the Beirut and Tripoli bombings to create strife in Lebanon.
No group has claimed responsibility for Friday's deadly car bombings.