Dubbed the Beirut bride, Israa Al Seblani, 29, recently made headlines. A viral video shows how her post-wedding photo shoot was interrupted by a massive explosion in the capital city of Lebanon, which killed 135 people and injured more than 5,000 others.
The Beirut blast happened on August 4, 2020. It was also the day Al Seblani got married to the love of her life, Ahmad Subeih, 34.
But Al Seblani is more than just a bride who happened to be in Beirut when a blast devastated the city. She is a doctor based in Troy, Michigan, United States.
After their wedding, Subeih and Al Seblani had a photo shoot with their wedding photographer Mahmoud Nakib 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.”
Subeih rushed Al Seblani to a nearby restaurant to ensure her safety. But as a doctor, she could not just stay there.
Al Selbani ran back out to help injured people. She told WXYZ, “People yelling, bleeding, I can’t get that sight out of my mind it was a nightmare.”
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.
However, stricter immigration laws made it hard for Subeih to obtain a U.S. visa so he and Al Selbani decided to get married in Beirut, his hometown, instead. From Troy, she traveled to the capital city of Lebanon in the second week of July 2020.
“I feel so sad about what happened to other people, about what happened to Lebanon,” Al Seblani told Reuters. “When I woke up and saw the damage that happened to Beirut, the one thing I said was, ‘Thank God we are still alive.’”