BEIRUT - A suicide bomber detonated himself Wednesday evening during a security raid in the Duroy Hotel along western Beirut's seaside Raouche promenade, injuring at least 10 people in the latest terror attack to rock the country.
The Saudi national set off his explosives as General Security members raided the hotel, while another would-be bomber suffering from severe burn wounds was arrested following the blast, Lebanon's state National News Agency reported.
The NNA later reported that the deceased bomber's identity was confirmed as Saudi-national Abdel Rahman al-Homeiqi, who was born in 1994.
Security forces cordoned off the Duroy Hotel to keep civilians at a distance as investigators swept the area for explosives and firefighters worked to extinguish the fire in the third floor of the hotel.
The NNA added that during their security sweep, investigators discovered an explosives-laden case.
A top Lebanese judicial official rushed to the scene of the blast and confirmed to reporters that one bomber killed himself while another was arrested during the raid.
Government Commissioner to the Military Court Judge Saqr Saqr added that three General Security members were injured in the explosion.
The blast also wounded seven civilians, all of whom were rushed to the American University of Beirut Medical Center, Red Cross chief George Kettaneh said.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Nohad Mashnouq told reporters at the scene that the incident was a "preemptive strike from General Security because the suicide bomber wanted to detonate himself elsewhere."
"The security measures that are being taken are preventing suicide bombers from reaching their targets," he added.
Shortly after the blast, the Free Sunnis of Baalbek Brigades claimed responsibility for the hotel explosion, and said that its other "mujahideen are now safely outside of the suicide operation area."
"Our blessed operations will not spare [Hezbollah], the crusader army, or whoever else targets free mujahedeen," the little-known terror group posted on its @Ahrarsunab3lbek Twitter account.
However, Mashnuq said the group's responsibility claim was a "traditional statement that can neither be confirmed nor refuted."
Amid reports the bomber was a Saudi national, Riyadh’s embassy in Beirut informed the NNA over the phone that it was “checking the identity of the suicide bomber.”
The embassy added that it was coordinating with Lebanese authorities to find out whether the ID found at the explosion site was fake.
Future Movement leader MP Saad Hariri expressed on his Twitter account his solidarity with "all security apparatuses, from the army, to General Security, to the Internal Security Forces in their [fight] against the dens of terrorism."
He also stripped this incident from any religious aspect, claiming that "Muslims in Lebanon have nothing to do with the impostors who belong to no sect but terrorism."