News / Middle East

    Car Bomb Kills 4 in Beirut Hezbollah Stronghold

    • Civil defense members extinguish a fire at the site of an explosion in Haret Hreik, Beirut, Jan. 21, 2014.
    • Investigators inspect parts of a destroyed car at the site of a car bombing in Beirut, Jan. 21, 2014.
    • Civil Defense personnel help a woman at the scene of a bomb blast in Haret Hreik, Beirut, Jan. 21, 2014.
    • Smoke rises from the site of an explosion in Haret Hreik, Beirut, Jan. 21, 2014.
    • Civil Defense members move a fire extinguisher as a Hezbollah member carries a walkie-talkie at the site of an explosion in Haret Hreik, Beirut, Jan. 21, 2014.
    Explosion in Southern Beirut
    Edward Yeranian
    Lebanon's National News Agency says that four people were killed when a suicide bomber detonated a vehicle he was driving on a busy thoroughfare in Beirut's mostly Shi'ite southern suburbs. It was the fourth major explosion in the area, where influence is held by the pro-Syrian, pro-Iranian Hezbollah.

    Explosions in LebanonExplosions in Lebanon
    x
    Explosions in Lebanon
    Explosions in Lebanon
    A security camera on a building not far from the explosion showed a four-wheel drive vehicle blowing up amid traffic in the busy Beirut suburb of Haret Hreik. It was the fourth explosion to hit Beirut's mostly Shi'ite southern district in recent months.

    Gunfire erupted briefly, as rescue workers tried to evacuate victims of the blast from damaged residential buildings and gutted vehicles. Casualties were taken to nearby hospitals as security forces combed the area for details of the bombing.

    Caretaker Interior Minister Marwan Charbel told a news conference that there have been a number of security lapses in recent months, leading to bombings like this one. He goes on to argue that recent suicide bombings have become more sophisticated:

    He sais this is the second bombing that he has seen in which a suicide bomber, wearing a suicide belt, has driven a bomb-laden vehicle that has blown up. This time, though, he notes, the bomb in the vehicle went off, but the driver's suicide belt did not explode.

    Hezbollah's al-Manar TV reported that the vehicle contained four mortar bombs that were joined together.  Another recent blast, which killed a prominent Sunni politician, is thought to have used more than twice that quantity of explosives.

    Jabha al-Nusrat claims responsibility

    The militant Islamic Jabha al-Nusrat group, which is fighting in Syria against forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, claimed responsibility for the blast on Twitter. The group said the bombing was retaliation for regime attacks on “Syrian children” and children in the Lebanese border village of Arsal.

    The bombing took place several hundred meters from the Hezbollah group's party offices. Acting Interior Minister Charbel insisted that the bomber “failed in his attempt to attack the Hezbollah compound.” Another bomber blew himself up earlier this month before reaching the building.

    Former Lebanese President Amin Gemayel told several Lebanese TV channels that “action must be taken to stop militants and extremists from inciting religious and sectarian conflicts.” He insisted that “outside forces are trying to stir up trouble in Lebanon.”

    In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the United States condemns the attack in the strongest terms.  She said such abhorrent acts of terrorism undermine the peace and security the Lebanese people deserve.

    Analyst Riad Kahwaji, who heads the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis says spillover from the conflict in Syria and anger over Hezbollah's involvement in support of the Assad regime, has been limited by efforts by Lebanese leaders to contain the violence:

    "Strong measures taken by the Lebanese armed forces and security agencies, along with Hezbollah's measures, and efforts by various Lebanese parties, including the parties against the Syrian regime, have helped contain the situation and keep the spillover of Hezbollah's intervention [in Syria] limited to a bombing every now and then in some neighborhoods," said Riad Kahwaji.

    Shi'ite Hezbollah militiamen have been openly battling Sunni rebel groups inside Syria for months, in a bid to stop them from ousting President Assad. This, in turn, has ratcheted up tensions inside Lebanon, spurring armed clashes and multiple attacks across the country.

    You May Like

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.