ZAHLE, Lebanon: A bomb rigged to explode was found early Sunday near the offices of the Arab Socialist Baath Party in east Lebanon, security sources told The Daily Star.
The sources said the bomb was found near the offices of the Baath Party in Jalala in the Bekaa Valley and that the Lebanese Army immediately moved to cordon off the area.
In a statement, the Army said it launched its investigation after receiving intelligence of a suspicious body that had been seen in front of the “offices of a political party” at 4 a.m. in the morning.
After cordoning off the area, a military expert sent to scene disabled the device, which the Army described as a 1-kilogram, home-made bomb.
The Army has launched an investigation to ascertain the identity of the culprits.
Like the north and parts of the south, east Lebanon has seen a string of security incidents, mostly linked to the crisis in neighboring Syria.
Commenting on the morning events, the head of the Lebanon branch of the Arab Socialist Baath Party, Fayez Shukr, linked the incident to the crisis next door.
Speaking at his home in Nabi Sheet, Shukr told reporters that “this [incident] is linked to what is going on in Syria in terms of takfiri groups ... [who] are seeking to bring the battle to Lebanon and planting the bomb at dawn is conclusive evidence of what they are trying to achieve.”
Shukr, a fervent supporter of Syrian President Bashar Assad, said the aim of the explosive device was to intimidate supporters of Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which claims it is fighting U.S. and Israeli-backed takfiri groups in Syria.
“The bomb that was placed in front of the office of the party comes within the project to terrorize national figures and scare off all those who stand beside the Lebanese resistance,” he said, according to the National News Agency.
“This incident cannot be separated either from the shooting at Sheikhs Abdel-Razzaq [Asmar] and [Ibrahim] Braidi as well as the attempt to assassinate Sheikh Maher Hammoud,” he said.
Asmar, an official from the Islamic Tawhid Movement, was shot dead in the Abi Samra neighborhood of Tripoli in October 2011. On June 3, unidentified assailants in Qab Elias opened fire on a vehicle belonging to Braidi, a pro-Hezbollah preacher. Hammoud, another pro-Hezbollah sheikh, said he survived an assassination attempt in Sidon on the same day of the attack in Qab Elias.
Shukr said his party would not be intimidated by the events of the day.