Lebanon seizes car with explosives, arrests four
August 18 2013 09:49 PM

People cheer as a bride and groom pose for pictures yesterday at the site of the car bomb explosion that killed 27 people on August 15 in Beirut.


Lebanese security forces seized a car loaded with explosives and arrested four men suspected of preparing bombs, days after a deadly bombing in southern Beirut, security sources said yesterday.

The car was discovered on Saturday about 15km south of the capital in Naameh, laden with five containers of TNT as well as nitroglycerin, they said.

The four men were being held on suspicion of preparing explosives for possible use in car bombings, but were not believed to be connected to Saturday’s discovery or to the car bomb that killed 27 people three days ago, the sources said.

That attack in a Shia district of southern Beirut which is a stronghold of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah was the deadliest in the capital since Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war.

The toll was the highest since a Beirut car bomb killed former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri and 22 others in February 2005.

The bombing, which Shia Hezbollah blamed on radical Sunni Muslims, followed months of growing sectarian tension in Lebanon fuelled in part by Hezbollah’s intervention against Sunni Muslim rebels in Syria’s civil war.

The two-year conflict has killed 100,000 people inside Syria and the violence has spread across the Lebanese border, with rocket attacks in the Bekaa Valley, street fighting in the Mediterranean cities of Sidon and Tripoli and bombs in Beirut.

Yesterday four rockets were fired from Syrian territory towards the Shia town of Hermel in the Bekaa Valley, security sources said. The rockets landed near the town but there were no reports of casualties, they said.

Hermel and other areas of eastern Lebanon, a bastion of Hezbollah, have been hit by several rocket attacks launched from Syria in recent months.

Though Lebanon is officially neutral in Syria’s war, the country is deeply divided into backers of the Assad regime and supporters of the rebels.

Damascus dominated Lebanon militarily and politically for nearly 30 years until 2005.

Security forces at checkpoints on the main coastal road to Beirut from southern Lebanon were stopping and searching vehicles yesterday, drivers said.





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