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Middle east

Deadly car bomb hits Hezbollah stronghold in Lebanon

© AFP

Video by Lucy FIELDER

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-02-02

At least four people were killed and over a dozen more were wounded when a car bomb on Saturday exploded in a Hezbollah stronghold near the border with Syria, officials said.

"At least four people were killed and more than 15 wounded, two or three of them in critical condition," Interior Minister Marwan Charbel told Hezbollah's Al-Manar television station.

The al-Nusra Front in Lebanon, a group named after al Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, claimed the attack on Twitter, saying it was a suicide bombing in response to Hezbollah's involvement in Syria.

The bomb went off near a school run by a charity group for impoverished children, some of them orphans, but an official speaking on al-Manar said no children were injured.

A photograph posted on Lebanon’s National News Agency’s website also showed a fire raging beside a severely damaged petrol station.

The blast was the second to hit the northeastern Lebanese town in less than a month.

The town is situated at the northern end of the Bekaa Valley, which is populated mainly by Shiite Muslims among whom Hezbollah draws its support.

On January 16, a car bombing outside the main government administration building in Hermel killed three people.

That blast was also claimed by the al-Nusra Front in Lebanon, a group that has emerged recently, as well as a bombing five days earlier in the southern suburbs of Beirut, Hezbollah's heartlands.

It is unclear if there is any relation between the group and al-Nusra in Syria.

Saturday's attack is the seventh to hit Hezbollah strongholds since the group said it had sent men to Syria to fight alongside Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's troops against mainly Sunni rebel groups.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP, REUTERS)
 

Date created : 2014-02-01

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