Lebanon News

Rockets fired from Syria hit Lebanon's Hermel

People gather near a damaged car after two rockets fired from Syrian territories exploded in the border city of Hermel, Tuesday, April 23, 2013. (The Daily Star Photo/Stringer)

HERMEL, Lebanon: Two rockets fired Tuesday from Syrian territories exploded in the Bekaa border city of Hermel, only a few meters away from a local hospital, security sources told The Daily Star.

They said there were no casualties from the morning attack.

The rockets, fired less than 30 minutes apart, fell near the privately owned Assi Hospital in the eastern part of the city of Hermel.

The first rocket at 9:20 a.m. slammed into a house under construction, only 200 meters from the hospital. The house belongs to policeman Mehdi Shamas.

At 9:45 a.m., another rocket landed in an orchard owned by Adnan Murtada, which lies some 500 meters away from Assi Hospital, according to the sources.

The rocket attack comes as tension escalated in Hermel following repeated cross-border rocket fire.

France said Monday it was “deeply concerned” at the increase in tensions at the border between Syria and Lebanon.

“These rocket attacks compromise Lebanon’s integrity and sovereignty and threaten the security of the Lebanese people,” a statement on the French Foreign Ministry website said.

France called for the “respect of Lebanon’s integrity and sovereignty.”

Paris also urged “all Lebanese parties” to respect the commitments undertaken in the June, 2012, “Baabda Declaration,” a policy that aims to distance Lebanon from the Syria crisis.

The tension in the Hermel was further exacerbated Monday after two Lebanese Salafist sheikhs called for a jihad to defend Sunnis in war-ravaged Syria following what they said was Hezbollah’s involvement in the crisis next door.

Earlier Monday, Sheikh Nabil Qaouk, a senior Hezbollah official, defended his party’s role in helping Lebanese Shiites living in Syrian towns and villages to protect themselves against rebel assaults.

MP Marwan Hamadeh voiced concern Tuesday over the developments in Syria and its impact on Lebanon.

“Pivotal moments between war and peace approach [for Lebanon] and that is due to Hezbollah’s intervention in Syria,” Hamadeh told the Voice of Lebanon radio station.

He said "fatal adventures" await Lebanese this summer because of Hezbollah's role in Syria.

For his part, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea warned against Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria that would eventually drag Lebanon into the conflict.

“Hezbollah is destroying the resistance, the Shiites and Lebanon,” Geagea said in remarks published Tuesday.

“[Hezbollah’s] involvement in Syria will [ultimately] move war from Syria into Lebanon,” he told the local daily Al-Liwaa.

 

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