UK & World News

  • 16 January 2014, 11:16

Lebanon: Bomb Blast In Hizbollah Stronghold

At least three people have been killed and 25 injured in a car bombing in Lebanon close to the Syrian border - the latest attack on a Hizbollah stronghold.

The explosion, thought to have been a suicide attack, ripped through the main square of  the northeastern town of Hermel, in front of a main government administration building.

A large plume of smoke could be seen rising from the square and the twisted wreckage of a car.

The blast happened during the morning rush hour, according to officials.

Eyewitness Ali Shamas, the headmaster of a Hermel college, said: "The explosion was huge. People are really scared and upset.

"It took place just as people were on their way to work and to go about their daily business in the middle of town.

"There was a lot of smoke rising from the scene."

Security forces and army troops were deployed in the square shortly after the blast.

It is the latest in a wave of attacks to hit Lebanon in recent months as the civil war in Syria increasingly spills over into its smaller neighbour.

Hermel has previously been targeted by mortars, while the capital Beirut has been hit by a series of explosions.

The violence has further stoked sectarian tensions in Lebanon, mainly over the civil war in neighbouring Syria, where the Shiite Hizbollah group has been involved in fighting alongside President Bashar al Assad's forces.

It also came as the trial in absentia of four men accused of murdering former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri in 2005 began at a UN-backed court in the Netherlands.

It is alleged the suspects had links to Hizbollah.

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