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Suicide Bomb Attack at Cafe in Lebanon Kills 9

A Lebanese Army soldier guards a cafe where a suicide bomb attack took place in Jabal Mohsen, Tripoli, Jan. 11, 2015.

Lebanese officials say a suicide bomb attack on a cafe in the northern city of Tripoli has left at least nine people dead and 37 wounded.

Witnesses say two bombers set off explosives at a cafe located in the predominantly Alawite neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen in Lebanon's second-largest city. Authorities identified the attackers, Taha Samir al-Khayal and Bilal Mohammad al-Maraiyan, as residents of the nearby Sunni Mankubeen district.

For decades, the neighborhoods have been the center of clashes, which have been further fueled by the war in Syria and the actions of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, an Alawite.

The al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front has claimed responsibility for Saturday's attack. The cafe was on a street dividing Jabal Mohsen from the Sunni district of Bab-al Tabbaneh.

The U.S. State Department strongly condemned the attack, saying it would continue its "strong support" for Lebanese security forces in their fight against "violent extremists."

A major flare-up of violence in Tripoli occurred in October.

Politicians across Lebanon's deeply divided political field have consistently condemned the violence in Tripoli, a historic base for Sunni Islamist groups.