Editor's note: The Washington Post added this background in its story on the suicide bombings in Beirut that have killed dozens. (Responsibility for the bombings was claimed by the Islamic State.) 'Hezbollah is fighting alongside government forces against the Sunni-led rebellion in Syria, drawing the ire of such militantly anti-Shiite groups as the Islamic State. Lebanon faced a string of similar bombings more than a year ago that also targeted the largely Shiite areas of Beirut.' - Tom
Beirut (Arabic: بيروت Bayrūt; Biblical Hebrew: בְּאֵרוֹת Be'erot; Hebrew: ביירות Beirut; Latin: Berytus; French: Beyrouth; Turkish: Beyrut; Armenian: Պէյրութ Beyrut) is the capital and largest city of Lebanon. No recent population census has been done but in 2007 estimates ranged from slightly more than 1 million to slightly less than 2 million as part of Greater Beirut. Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's Mediterranean coast, Beirut is the country's largest and main seaport.
The first mention of this metropolis is found in the ancient Egyptian Tell el Amarna letters dating from the 15th century BC. The city has been inhabited continuously since then. The Beirut River runs south to north on the eastern edge of the city.
Beirut is Lebanon's seat of government and plays a central role in the Lebanese economy, with many banks and corporations based in its Central District, Hamra Street, Rue Verdun and Ashrafieh. Following the destructive Lebanese Civil War, Beirut's cultural landscape underwent major reconstruction. Identified and graded for accountancy, advertising, banking/finance and law, Beirut is ranked as a Beta World City by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network.