A damaged house is seen near the site of explosion in Hermel, Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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Saturday was supposed to be a day of merriment for Ghadi Amhaz, who was celebrating her 18th birthday at her uncle Ahed's house in the northeastern town of Hermel.The bomber, driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee, detonated his car near the Aytam gas station, killing three and wounding 23 others in the town where Hezbollah enjoys wide support.The group has stood behind previous attacks that have targeted Hermel and the Beirut southern suburbs, all in retaliation for Hezbollah's involvement in Syria.Hermel has also been hit numerous times by rockets fired by Syrian rebels.Ahed, a farmer and cattle dealer, said he would never consider leaving Hermel, in spite of the threat of more attacks. Allaw, whose 14-year-old cousin Ali was killed in the explosion, said that life was becoming hard in the town.The streets of Hermel, usually bustling on weekends, were deserted and many residents were seen carrying pistols.A Hezbollah fighter wearing a military outfit manned a checkpoint at the entrance of Hermel. Some residents said that the rigged car was able to enter Hermel because Hezbollah removed one of the town's entrance checkpoints at 5 p.m. Saturday.
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