Car bomb kills at least 4 in Hezbollah stronghold in Lebanon

2/1/2014
ASSOCIATED PRESS

BEIRUT — A car bomb blew up Saturday near a gas station in a Shiite town in northeast Lebanon, killing at least four people, officials said.

The bomb was the second to hit the northeastern Shiite-dominated town of Hermel, in the latest attack that appeared linked to the war in neighboring Syria.

Lebanon’s Red Crescent said four were killed and another 18 wounded.

Footage on al-Manar television, associated with the Shiite group Hezbollah, showed a bright orange blaze as black silhouettes of people ran by. Blasts could be heard in the background. Eyewitnesses said Lebanese security was surrounding the area and preventing people from reaching it.

The blast occurred near a school run by a charity group for impoverished children, some of them orphans. An official speaking on al-Manar said no children were injured.

Lebanese groups backing different sides in Syria’s sectarian civil war have carried out bombings and other attacks against each other.

Sunni militant groups have claimed responsibility for a relentless series of attacks on Shiite parts of Lebanon, including a bomb that exploded in Hermel in late January. They say it is in retaliation for the Shiite Hezbollah group sending its fighters into Syria’s civil war to support forces of President Bashar Assad.

Lebanon’s Sunni community has also been hit, most notably by a deadly double car bombing outside Sunni mosques in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli in August. A December car bombing in Beirut killed prominent Sunni politician Mohammed Chatah.