BEIRUT: Lebanese security forces seized a car loaded with explosives and arrested four men suspected of preparing bombs, days after a deadly bombing in southern Beirut, security sources said yesterday.
The car was discovered on Saturday about 15km south of the capital in Naameh, laden with five containers of TNT as well as nitroglycerin, they said.
The four men were being held on suspicion of preparing explosives for possible use in car bombings, but were not believed to be connected to Saturday’s discovery or to the car bomb that killed 27 people three days ago, the sources said.
That attack in a Shia district of southern Beirut which is a stronghold of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah was the deadliest in the capital since Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war.
The bombing, which Shia Hezbollah blamed on radical Sunni Muslims, followed months of growing sectarian tension in Lebanon fuelled in part by Hezbollah’s intervention against Sunni rebels in Syria’s civil war.
The two-year conflict has killed 100,000 people inside Syria and the violence has spread across the Lebanese border, with rocket attacks in the Bekaa Valley, street fighting in the Mediterranean cities of Sidon and Tripoli and bombs in Beirut.
Five rockets landed in and around the eastern Lebanese town of Hermel, a Hezbollah stronghold, a security source said on condition of anonymity.
“Two rockets landed in the town of Hermel, in an area between the Mabarrat teaching association and the Masharia Al Qaa area, causing no casualties,” the source said.
“Another three rockets have landed now on the outskirts of Hermel,” he added.
It was not immediately clear whether the rockets were launched from inside Lebanon or from across the border in strife-torn Syria, said the source.
Hermel and other areas of eastern Lebanon, a bastion of the powerful Lebanese Shia group Hezbollah, have been hit by several rocket attacks launched from Syria in recent months.
“People are scared. No one knows how the situation will develop. No one in the Hermel area feels relaxed,” said Ali Shamas, a resident of Hermel.