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EXPLOSION IN HIZBULLAH STRONGHOLD KILLED 20

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An explosion, on Thursday 08/15/2013 evening,  has killed at least 20 people in Beirut’s Dahiya neighborhood, the Hizbullah’s fortified Southern suburbs, according to the Lebanese Interior Ministry. At least 120 others were injured in the blast. Civil defence workers used ladders to pull residents from burning buildings. Heavy damage was reported to nearby buildings and cars. Authorities said a car bomb was the cause of the blast  The explosion struck near a complex used by Hizbullah, the Shiaa political party and armed group that in recent months has become increasingly and more publicly involved in the conflict in neighbouring Syria (see – Shiite Arc ).

An unknown Syrian Sunni group called ‘Aisha Umm-al Muaminin’ claimed responsibility for the bombing (Aisha the mother of believers, was one of the Prophet Muhammad’s wifes). Shortly after the attack, an online video surfaced showing three masked

men, two of them holding rifles, in front of a white flag inscribed with the Islamic profession of faith. “This is the second time that we decide the place of the battle and its timing…And you will see more, God willing,” said a masked man, who was surrounded by other members of the group brandishing rifles.

“We… send a message to [Hezbollah chief] Hassan Nasrallah’s pigs,” said one of the men, wearing a white mask.  Indeed Hizbullah has been receiving threats recently from some groups linked to the Syrian opposition.

Syria’s conflict has spilled over into Lebanon, where there have been outbreaks of fighting reflecting the sectarian divisions emerging in the Syrian war. Lebanon’s Sunni Muslims mostly support the rebels in Syria, while Shiaas have largely supported President Bashar al-Assad, who is part of the minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiaa Islam (see also – SYRIAN DILEMA ).

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has promised that his group will continue fighting for Assad after it spearheaded the recapture of the strategic town of al-Qusayr in June.

There have been two attacks in southern Beirut this year – a car bomb, on 07/09/2013, exploded in the nearby Beir al-Abed district, wounding more than 50 people, and two rockets fired into the area two months earlier.

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* General Security in Lebanon said three suspects, a Lebanese man and two Palestinian brothers, had been arrested so far for their alleged involvement in a car-bombing ring, but added that investigators were in pursuit of two additional Lebanese suspects identified as Mohammad Qassem al-Ahmad (1), 30, a resident of Haret Naameh, and Saeed Mohammad Bahri (2), 28, of Dohat Aramoun, according to media reports on 08/20/2013. The detained suspects were identified by their initials as Lebanese T.B.T. and Palestinians A.H.S. and K.H.S.

Lebanon’s General Security also confirmed that it had confiscated Saturday an Audivehicle that contained 250 kilograms of explosives in Naameh, 15 kilometers south of Beirut. A security source said that authorities found five containers in the Audi, each with 50 kilograms of TNT and a remote-control detonator. The Audi was reportedly parked near Naameh’s municipality building and a residential complex.

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