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

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid