Back-to-back car bombings on Friday and Monday – which targeted military officials and civilians in areas of Lebanon critical to Hezbollah – have renewed worries that blowback generated by the Iran-backed terror group’s participation in regional Sunni-Shiite conflicts may end up dragging Lebanon into those conflicts.
The incidents were the first major explosions since March 29, and risk undermining Hezbollah’s subsequent boasts that it had successfully sealed the Lebanon-Syria border to prevent the transit of jihadist personnel and materials.
Friday’s attack, which killed a police officer, targeted a checkpoint on the Beirut-Damascus highway and seems to have been aimed at assassinating General Abbas Ebrahim, the Hezbollah-linked chief of Lebanon’s powerful General Security Agency.
The Monday overnight attack, which took place outside a cafe in a Hezbollah-dominated area of southern Beirut, killed one and wounded at least 20.
The Al Qaeda-affiliated Abdullah Azzam Brigades announced that similar attacks would continue until Hezbollah withdrew from the conflict in Syria, where it has provided critical support to the Bashar al-Assad regime:
Sheikh Sirajeddine Zuraiqat, the Al-Qaeda affiliated group’s religious guide, tweeted that the recent targeting of General Security head Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim and the explosions in the southern suburbs confirmed that “you [Hezbollah] will not be living safely, until safety is returned to the people of Syria and Lebanon.”
Saad Hariri, a top figure in the anti-Hezbollah March 14 movement, demanded more broadly that the organization untangle itself from Sunni-Shiite conflicts sweeping the region in order to “spare” Lebanon future blowback:
Future Movement leader MP Saad Hariri reiterated his call for Hezbollah to withdraw its fighters from Syria in order to “spare” Lebanon from security incidents.
“The fire will reach us if some are interfering with the Syrian or Iraqi affairs,” Hariri said Tuesday following his meeting with former President Michel Suleiman in Paris.
Hezbollah-backed Syrian troops over the weekend doubled down on an offensive aimed at dislodging opposition forces from areas in the strategically critical Qalamoun region, part of an ongoing campaign in the area that has already cost Hezbollah over a dozen fighters.
[Photo: WorldBreakingNews / YouTube]