Grenades hurled at Hezbollah-allied party offices amid recent political turmoil
Lebanon is suffering its worst political crisis in recent years as Hezbollah, allies withdraw from country's unity cabinet over a UN probe reported to implicate the militant group in Rafik Hariri 2005 assassination.
Unknown assailants threw grenades at the headquarters of a Hezbollah-allied party office late Thursday, amid fears of renewed sectarian violence in the wake of Hezbollah's recent resignation from Lebanon's unity government.
According to a report by Lebanon's National News Agency, two unidentified individuals hurled two grenades at the headquarters of the Free Patriotic Movement, a Christian party led by Lebanese MP Michel Aoun and a known ally of Hezbollah.
No casualties or injuries were reported.
The attack came just days after Hezbollah ministers and their cabinet allies resigned from Prime Minister Saad Hariri's government over disagreements about a United Nations-backed tribunal investigating the 2005 killing of Hariri's father.
Speaking earlier Thursday of the possibility that Lebanon's most recent political crisis could spiral the country back into a state of civil unrest and violence, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said he was sure there would be no civil conflict between Shiites and Sunnis.
According to a Channel 10 reported citing the Al-Jazeera news network, Nasrallah, who had been reportedly holding meetings with other Hezbollah officials in recent days to discuss the political situation in Lebanon, blamed Hariri for the current political crisis, urging the Lebanese prime minister to remain on his overseas trip and not return to Lebanon.
Earlier this week, Arab League chief Amr Moussa expressed concern over Lebanon's possible descent into chaos, saying the situation was "bad. It is tense. It is threatening."
"All of us have to work together in order to reach some kind of compromise," he told reporters in Doha, Qatar.
Lebanon's 14-month-old unity government was an uneasy coalition linking bitter rivals - a Western-backed bloc led by Hariri and the Shiite Hezbollah - that was an attempt to stabilize the country.
But in reality, it had been paralyzed for months because of disputes over the Hariri tribunal.
Hezbollah, which is supported by Syria and Iran and maintains an arsenal that far outweighs that of the national army, denounces the Netherlands-based tribunal as a conspiracy by the U.S. and Israel.
It had been pressuring Hariri to reject any of its findings even before they came out, but Hariri has refused to break cooperation with the tribunal.
Now, the chasm between the two sides is deepening with Hezbollah accusing Hariri's bloc of bowing to the West. Hezbollah's ministers timed their resignations to coincide with Hariri's meeting with Obama in Washington, forcing him to meet the American president as a caretaker prime minister.
The collapse of the government ushers in the worst political crisis since 2008 in one of the most volatile corners of the Middle East.
Lebanon suffered through a devastating civil war from 1975-1990, a 1982 Israeli invasion to drive out Palestinian fighters in the south, a 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, and deadly sectarian fighting between Sunnis and Shiites in 2008.
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