Smoke rises outside al-Taqwa mosque in Tripol
Smoke rises outside al-Taqwa mosque in TripolReuters

Hezbollah condemned on Friday the explosions in the northern city of Tripoli, saying the attacks seek to divide the region by inciting sectarian clashes.

"These twin terrorist explosions are part of a criminal plan aiming to plant the seeds of strife between Lebanese and drag them into fighting under the banner of confessionalism and sectarianism,” Hezbollah said in a statement quoted by the Lebanese Daily Star.

“[This] in turn serve pernicious international designs to divide the region and drown in blood and fire,” the terror group said.

Hezbollah condemned the deadly attack and said it was “a continuation of a project that seeks to drag Lebanon into chaos and fulfill the goals of the Zionist enemy and those backing it.”

“We voice solidarity with our brothers and people of Tripoli in these tragic times when innocent blood is being spilled with no reason,” the group said.

It also called on local figures to be wise and refrain from responding to what Hezbollah described as “rumors and accusations that seek to destroy this country and its people.”

Meanwhile, the death toll from the powerful car bombs which exploded outside two Sunni mosques has gone up to 42, the highest toll in an attack since Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war, according to the AFP news agency.

Earlier, the Lebanese Red Cross earlier said there were also at least 500 wounded, with director Georges Kettaneh adding that many of those hurt had serious burns and head wounds.

Both blasts hit at the hour of weekly Muslim prayers, in a city where Sunni supporters of Syria's rebels engage in frequent, often deadly, clashes with Alawites, who back the Assad regime.

The first bomb struck in the city centre at the Al-Salam mosque as worshippers were still inside. The second explosion struck outside Al-Taqwa mosque near the port.

The attacks in Tripoli come a week after a bombing in the Beirut bastion of Hezbollah, a close ally of Bashar Al-Assad, which killed 20 people.

That attack was claimed by a previously-unknown Sunni Islamist group, who threatened more attacks in revenge for Hezbollah participation in the killing of Sunnis in Syria.

The attacks also come one day after a leading supporter of Hezbollah was assassinated in Tripoli.

The man, Hassan Al-Mouri, Al-Mouri was gunned down by "masked men on motorbikes," along with a security official and a bystander.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)