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Brazilian Teenager Dies in Beirut Terrorist Attack

01/03/2014 - 08h49

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DIOGO BERCITO
FROM JERUSALEM

The Brazilian citizen Malak Zahwe, 17, was one of the victims of a bomb which left at least five people dead in Beirut yesterday. More than 60 people were injured in the blast, which occurred in a region under the control of the radical Shi'a group Hezbollah.

Zahwe was born in Foz do Iguaçu, in the state of Paraná, an area with a strong Lebanese community, and lived there until three years ago. She was studying in Beirut, and will be buried in Majdal Silim, a village three hours from the Lebanese capital.

Folha spoke to her cousin Nadir Zahwe by telephone. "Malak was shopping for clothes with her stepmother, who also died. The explosion hit the shop they were in," said Nadir, who was given the details by family members.

Besides her stepmother, Zahwe lived in Beirut with her father and three siblings, who were not present at the scene of the attack.

The blast occurred in the Haret Hreik neighborhood, close to the headquarters of the Al-Manar television channel, which is linked to Hezbollah. According to Lebanese authorities, the bomb consisted of 30kg of explosives hidden inside a vehicle.

As the explosion occurred in an area traditionally thought of as Hezbollah territory, analysts are suggesting that the group's security cordon has been weakened.

For the ex-Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the recent terrorist attacks in Lebanon are the consequence of Hezbollah's "involvement in external conflicts," in a reference to the group's participation in the Syrian Civil War in support of the dictator Bashar al-Assad.

Hezbollah sent fighters to Syria, in direct opposition to the Sunni factions which have been fighting in order to depose Assad.

This is not the first time a Brazilian has been the victim of violence in the Middle East. In 2001 the Brazilian tourist Jorge Balazs died when a Palestinian suicide bomber attacked a Jerusalem pizzeria.

And in 2005, the Brazilian engineer João José de Vasconcellos disappeared in Iraq, where he had been working. His body was found in 2007.

Translated by TOM GATEHOUSE

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