BAALBEK, Lebanon: A car exploded near a Hezbollah post in eastern Lebanon yesterday, leaving casualties, the Shia militant group and a security source said. The blast caused “deaths and injuries,” the security source said.
Hezbollah’s Al Manar television said an unspecified number of people were wounded in the attack near the Shia village of Sbuba. It said an SUV parked near the Hezbollah post blew up when members of the militia, which controls much of the Bekaa Valley in eastern Lebanon along the border with Syria, approached the vehicle. The vehicle was packed with 60kg of explosives and the blast left a crater three metres wide, Al Manar said.
“Other Hezbollah members rushed to the scene and opened fire, thinking the others had been ambushed, and then helped the wounded,” it said.
A photographer saw four burned out vehicles at the post, one of many manned by Hezbollah in the Bekaa, which hosts tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, who now account for a fifth of Lebanon’s resident population.
Residents said the position was used by the militia as a staging post for its vehicles and fighters, especially those headed for Syria to fight alongside government forces. The Lebanese army said the car bombing occurred at 2:50 am (0050 GMT) on the Sbuba-Nabi Mussa road and that military police were investigating.
Lebanon’s NNA news agency reported that Hezbollah militiamen had already intercepted two car bombs earlier on the same road. Meanwhile, five rockets coming from Syria hit the Bekaa town of Hermel, another Hezbollah stronghold, on Tuesday evening and wounded four people, the security source said.
“One of the rockets hit a Lebanese army barracks and the others hit residential areas,” wounding four people, the source said, without elaborating.
Hermel has been hit by cross-border rocket fire several times in the past. Hezbollah been the target of repeated attack by suspected Sunni hardliners since its leader Hassan Nasrallah confirmed in April that its fighters were in Syria supporting President Bashar Al Assad’s forces against mainly Sunni rebels.AFP