Lebanon

Dr. Israa Al Seblani: Lebanon can rebuild

Dr. Israa Al Seblani, 29, has returned from Lebanon to the United States. Her husband Ahmad Subeih, 34, is still in the Middle Eastern country.

On August 4, 2020, a large amount of ammonium nitrate stored at the port of Beirut, Lebanon exploded. Subeih and Al Seblani just got married in the city when the massive explosion killed at least 200 people and injured more than 6,500 others there.

The newlywed couple was having a post-wedding photo shoot when it was interrupted by the explosion. Taken by their their wedding photographer Mahmoud Nakib, a video showing Al Seblani in her wedding dress fleeing right after the explosion went viral.

“If Lebanese people stay beside each other, if they stay strong, they keep hope, never lose hope,” Al Seblani told FOX 2 Detroit. “Lebanon can rebuild again and be better than it was before.”

While Al Seblani is now in Troy, Michigan, USA, Subeih is still in Lebanon waiting for his U.S. visa to be approved. According to her, Michigan’s senator Gary Peters and congresswoman Haley Stevens are helping with the process.

 

Subeih and Al Seblani’s post-wedding photo shoot took place outside Le Gray Hotel at the Saifi Square in Beirut. The couple had planned to spend their first night as newlyweds in that hotel, which was damaged by the blast.

“We were filming an outdoor photo session for the bride and the groom then we heard an explosion,” Nakib told CNN, “That was the first explosion. We thought that is was far away.”

“We continued filming normally,” the photographer continued. “In just one second, the sky turned black and we heard the second explosion.”

Originally from Baalbeck, Béqaa, Lebanon, Al Seblani moved to Beirut in September 2009. In 2010, she entered Beirut Arab University where she studied medicine.

From Beirut, Al Seblani moved to the U.S. in 2013. She first lived in Michigan City, Indiana, USA before moving to Troy.

On July 25, 2017, Al Seblani and Subeih got engaged. They originally planned to get married in the U.S. but stricter immigration laws made it hard for him to obtain a U.S. visa.

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