Lebanese Army Blows Up Suspect Car Close to Syrian Border

Security sources say that the explosives-packed vehicle was meant to be used in a bomb attack.

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Lebanon's army blew up a car on Monday in the border region with Syria which they suspected contained explosives and was being prepared for use in a bomb attack, security sources said.

According to a Lebanese army source, the army fired a rocket at an explosives-laden silver jeep that was found in a rural area between the Bekaa Valley villages of Ras Baalbek and Fakeha. The driver of the car managed to escape before the rocket hit. The car was found about 5 kilometers (3 miles) north of a village where a suicide car bombing killed three people on Sunday.

Sunday's bombing, which killed two members of the Lebanese Shi'ite Muslim militant group Hezbollah, appeared to be retaliation for Hezbollah's support for Syrian troops who had recaptured the border town of Yabroud from rebel fighters.

The Al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front in Lebanon and a militant group calling itself the Baalbeck Ahrar al-Sunna Brigade each claimed responsibility for Sunday's attack.

Hezbollah's Al-Manar television broadcast footage on Monday of what it said was the suspect vehicle, a car parked in an olive grove, before it was blown up.

Hezbollah has been the target of repeated car bombings and rocket fire inside Lebanon during the past year over its involvement in Syria's civil war.
It is backing President Bashar Assad, whose minority Alawite sect is an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam, against a Sunni Muslim-led insurgency which is supported by Lebanon's Sunnis.

Many in Lebanon blame Hezbollah for dragging the country into the Syrian conflict, and radical Sunni groups have pledged to keep attacking it in Lebanon - even in solely civilian areas - until it withdraws from Syria.

Lebanese soldiers stand next the remains of a bomb-packed vehicle after they blew it up, near the Lebanese and Syria border, March 17, 2014.Credit: AP
Soldiers and residents gather at the site of Sunday's explosion in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, March 17, 2014.Credit: Reuters

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