Lebanon News

Ambush targets Hezbollah convoy

Lebanese Army soldiers secure the site of a roadside bomb attack on a highway near the Lebanese-Syrian border.

BEIRUT/MAJDAL ANJAR, Lebanon: One Hezbollah member was killed and three others wounded in an ambush Tuesday that targeted one of the party’s convoys on the highway linking the Bekaa Valley to Syria, security sources told The Daily Star.

The news came after security sources also revealed that Hezbollah had arrested a Palestinian man allegedly behind the bombing in the capital's southern suburbs last week.

In the latest attack against the party, a roadside bomb exploded near two SUVs on the highway linking the town of Majdal Anjar to the Masnaa border crossing with Syria.

A man identified by his initials “M.B.” died of wounds sustained during the attack, the security sources said.

The vehicles, which were on their way to Damascus, were shot at following the explosion. Several bullets hit the windshield of one of the SUVs – a GMC with tinted windows.

Syrian rebels have said they would target Hezbollah sites in Lebanon in retaliation for the party’s intervention in their country supporting President Bashar Assad's forces.

The National News Agency identified two of the wounded as Hussein Ali Der and Fadi Abdel-Karim. They were rushed to a Chtaura hospital and then transferred to Beirut.

Hours later, the Lebanese Army confirmed the bombing, saying a number of the vehicle’s passengers were wounded in the attack.

“At 3:45 p.m., a bomb placed on the side of the Chtaura-Masnaa highway near Majdal Anjar exploded and targeted one of the passing vehicles, wounding a number of passengers,” the Army said in a statement.

The military police launched an investigation into the incident under the supervision of the judiciary, it added.

There have been a number of other roadside bomb attacks in eastern Lebanon recently, although most have been ineffective.

The incident comes a week after a car bomb exploded in the southern Beirut neighborhood of Bir al-Abed, a pro-Hezbollah area, wounding at least 50 people.

The Beirut attack was a serious escalation in the country’s deteriorating security situation and raised fears among politicians that more bombings would follow.

Hezbollah’s leader, Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah, is expected to tackle attacks against Hezbollah and domestic issues during a speech Friday.

Hezbollah has apprehended a Syrian national allegedly behind last week’s bombing, security sources told The Daily Star Tuesday.

According to the sources, the man planted the bomb under a parked vehicle in the area.

He then left the area in a pickup truck driven by two Palestinian men.

Hezbollah is in pursuit of the other Palestinian suspects, the sources said.

Although a rebel group has claimed responsibility for the Beirut attack, the Free Syrian Army’s spokesperson has denied involvement in the bombing.

Hezbollah has since beefed up its security measures in the southern suburbs to prevent any future attacks. Reports continue to emerge about other planned attacks in Lebanon by extremist groups targeting the party’s areas of influence, mainly the capital’s southern suburbs and south Lebanon.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 17, 2013, on page 1.

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