BEIRUT: Security forces Monday blow up an explosive-laden vehicle in the Bekaa Valley, east Lebanon, security sources said, as the Lebanese Army continued to boost security along the border with Syria to prevent the infiltration of rebels.
The vehicle, a silver Grand Cherokee, was found abandoned on the outskirts of the Bekaa Valley town of Fakiha during an Army sweep of the area, the sources said.
Soldiers, who suspected the vehicle was a potential threat, fired at the vehicle using assault rifles and rocket propelled grenades which led to the detonation of the explosives inside, the sources said.
An Army statement said the vehicle contained 170 kilograms of explosives.
The military located the vehicle after a tipoff of a vehicle rigged with explosives in the area, it said, adding that vehicle was found parked in an unpopulated area in Ras Baalbek near a school.
Due to the danger of dismantling or moving the vehicle, the Army took a decision to blow the vehicle up in place, according to the statement.
Fears mounted over the security situation in east Lebanon after the Syrian regime regained control of the previously rebel bastion of Yabroud Sunday.
Hours after Syrian regime troops claimed “the fall of Yabroud,” a suicide bomber killed at least three people, including two Hezbollah members, and wounded 11 others in the east Lebanon village of Nabi Othman.
The Nusra Front in Lebanon claimed responsibility for the attack saying it was a “quick response” to Hezbollah’s “bragging” about the “rape” of Yabroud.
The Al-Qaeda-linked group vowed to bring the fight from the fallen Syrian town to Lebanon.
In response to the events in Yabroud, the Lebanese Army Sunday enhanced security measures along the border to prevent rebel infiltration including in the northeastern border town of Arsal.
The outskirts of the mainly Sunni town was teaming with rebel fighters from Yabroud Sunday.
On Monday, elite Lebanese Army units conducted sweeps on the outskirts of several border towns in the Bekaa Valley, particularly Arsal, Ras Baalbek and Fakiha.
The military worked to seal all illegal border crossings along the northeastern border.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Tammam Salam, in talks with Army chief Gen. Jean Kahwagi, urged the military to take measures to control the situation in border regions in the eastern Bekaa Valley.
“The prime minister instructed the military to take all the necessary measures to control the situation in border areas of the Bekaa [Valley] and do what is necessary to protect civilians and consolidate stability in Arsal, Labweh and nearby towns,” a statement from Salam’s office said.