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

    South Sudan Sends First Ever Official Olympic Team to Rio

    VOA caught up with Santino Kenyi, 16, one of three athletes who will compete in this year's summer games in Brazil

    Arrest of Malawi's 'Hyena' Man Highlights Clash of Ritual, Health and Women's Rights

    Ritual practice of deflowering young girls is blamed for spreading deadly AIDS virus

    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    VOA finds things Americans take for granted are special to foreigners

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora