Lebanon: Shell Caused Blast at Hezbollah Official's Home

Israel to UN: Lebanon blast shows Hezbollah violating truce; Lebanon: None killed in blast at militant's home.

The Lebanese Army on Tuesday backed Hezbollah's claim that one person was wounded and none killed in an explosion in the southern Lebanese village of Tayr Filsi a day earlier.

According to the Lebanon Army, the explosion at the home of a senior group official was caused by a shell. The United Nations peacekeeping force in Lebanon is still investigating the source of the munitions.

Hezbollah lawmaker Hussein Haj Hassan said the explosion happened in the garage of a Hezbollah member, wounding one person. "We are concerned with finding out the reasons for this explosion," Hassan said.

President Shimon Peres, meanwhile, warned that Hezbollah was turning Lebanon into a "powderkeg."

"It is not Israel that is endangering Lebanon," said Peres. "We returned to them everything we were supposed to and there is no reason not to have peace with them."

Israel has demanded that the United Nations investigate the explosion at the Hezbollah official's house, which it said proved munitions were being stockpiled in violation of a truce.

Hezbollah has denied that the explosion that rocked the south Lebanon house was serving as a munitions bunker, and immediately rejected media reports that a senior group official was killed in the blast.

An Israel Defense Forces source said the explosion indicated the Iranian-backed guerrilla group Israel fought in a month-long war in 2006 was keeping "banned ammunition" in southern Lebanon.

"The Israeli military has asked UNIFIL to open an investigation," the source said, using the acronym for a United Nations peacekeeping force that has patrolled the troubled Israeli-Lebanese border area for more than three decades.

The cause of the blast appeared to be accidental, reports from Lebanon said. An Israeli military spokeswoman also confirmed Israel had "nothing to do" with the incident.

Lebanese media said that a senior official and at least three others were killed in a blast in a three-story building in the southern Lebanese village of Tayr Filsi, on the southern bank of the Litani River.

Lebanese media named the official as Saeed Nasser and security sources listed his son among the fatalities.

Hezbollah denied that the house was being used as an arms depot and said that the munitions that caused the blast had belonged to the Israel Defense Forces and were left over from the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

The group also said that nobody had been killed in the explosion and only one person wounded.

A UN-mediated truce ending the war of three years ago mandated that a swathe of southern Lebanon be free of weaponry, in exchange for an Israeli troop pullout.

Israel also accused Hezbollah of violating the truce after an explosion in southern Lebanon in July.

A July explosion in an abandoned building in another southern village was said to have been caused by a fire in a Hezbollah arms depot. The militant group said at the time that the building housed ammunition leftover from Israeli attacks on Lebanon.

The Lebanon-based militant group has also accused Israel of responsibility in the 2008 assassination of its deputy secretary general, Imad Mughniyah, in Damascus.

Israel has denied playing any role in Mughniyah's death, but Hezbollah has repeatedly vowed to avenge the assassination.

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