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Middle east

Car bomb hits Hezbollah stronghold in Lebanon

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-12-17

A suspected suicide car bomb exploded near a stronghold of the Shiite militant group Hezbollah in eastern Lebanon early on Tuesday, the country’s official National News Agency (NNA) reported.

The bomb detonated near a Hezbollah position on a road that runs between the villages of Sbouba and Wadi Abu Mousa in the Baalbek region, the NNA said. The blast reportedly went off after it was intercepted at a Hezbollah checkpoint and militants opened fire. It was unclear, however, whether the explosion was set off by the gunshots or the driver. The NNA later said that it was a suicide bombing.

There were unconfirmed reports of multiple casualties at the blast site, which has been sealed off by Hezbollah. Footage aired on Lebanese television channels showed several badly damaged vehicles, including the charred, twisted wreckage of an overturned jeep.

A Lebanese security official confirmed the explosion but said there was no immediate word on the nature of the target. He spoke on condition of anonymity in compliance with regulations.

Wave of attacks

There has been a wave of recent attacks on Hezbollah positions and interests across Lebanon. The militant group is involved in fighting in neighbouring Syria, where it has deployed reinforcements to support President Bashar al-Assad’s government forces.

There are many Lebanese Sunni Muslims, however, who support the rebels fighting to overthrow Assad, whose Alawite faith is an offshoot of Shiite Islam. Some Sunni jihadis have even flocked to Syria to join the rebels.

The conflict has also seeped back into Lebanon. Twin blasts struck the embassy of Iran - Hezbollah’s patron - in Beirut last month. Bombs have also targeted Shiite districts of the capital and Sunni mosques in the northern city of Tripoli.

(FRANCE 24 with AP)

Date created : 2013-12-17

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