HERMEL, Lebanon: An explosives-laden vehicle was detonated early Tuesday near a Hezbollah post in northeastern Lebanon wounding at least two of the party’s fighters, security sources said.
The sources said Hezbollah fighters in a convoy were attempting to intercept the vehicle when it exploded in Sbouba, where the group maintains a station for rotating fighters.
The vehicle was rigged with 50 kilograms of explosives and was likely detonated remotely as the Hezbollah fighters approached, the sources said.
A judicial source, citing a preliminary investigation, said the vehicle used in the explosion and found at the blast site was a Kia Sorento. It had been stolen from the Bekaa Valley, the source said.
Hezbollah cordoned off the area soon after the explosion, the source said, adding that when Military Police arrived at the scene they found several body parts and cement blocks.
The source said Hezbollah had removed the bodies of victims before the arrival of the military.
Military Police collected DNA samples to identify the victims and ascertain whether the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber.
The fighters also left behind two of the convoy vehicles that were destroyed in the blast, taking with them two others that had been slightly damaged, the source said.
The source said the cement blocks were from a Hezbollah post used for rotating fighters, suggesting the station may have been the target of the attack.
In a brief statement, the Lebanese Army said that a Grand Cherokee blew up on the road to Sbouba, northwest of Baalbek, at 2:50 a.m., damaging a number of vehicles.
In its evening report on the incident, Hezbollah’s Al-Manar said that around 3:30 a.m. members of the party in a convoy of five vehicles spotted a suspicious car parked on the side of the road as they were making their way to the rotation station.
A man stepped out of the vehicle as soon as the convoy approached and the car was remotely detonated, the television station said.
Suspecting an ambush, Hezbollah members opened fire and launched a manhunt for the driver, the TV station added.
Hezbollah has been targeted on numerous occasions over its military role in Syria. Hezbollah fighters have been battling with forces loyal to President Bashar Assad in Syria against rebels there.