Rockets hit Beirut strongholds of Hezbollah
By The Associated Press
Published: Sunday, May 26, 2013, 9:03 p.m.
Two rockets hit Hezbollah strongholds in Beirut on Sunday, tearing through an apartment and peppering cars with shrapnel, a day after the Lebanese group's leader pledged to lift President Bashar Assad to victory in Syria's civil war.
The strikes illustrated the potential backlash against Hezbollah at home for linking its fate to the survival of the Assad regime. It's a gambit that also threatens to pull fragile Lebanon deeper into Syria's bloody conflict.
Despite such risks, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah made it clear there is no turning back. In a televised speech on Saturday, he said Hezbollah will keep fighting alongside Assad's forces until victory, regardless of the costs.
For Hezbollah, it may well be an existential battle. If Assad falls, Hezbollah's supply line of Iranian weapons through Syrian territory would dry up and it could become increasingly isolated in the region.
At the same time, Hezbollah, a Shiite Muslim group, is raising the sectarian stakes in Lebanon by declaring war on Syria's rebels, most of them Sunni Muslims.
Lebanon and Syria share the same uneasy mix of Sunnis, Shiites, Christians and Alawites, or followers of an offshoot of Shiite Islam. In trying to defeat the rebels, Assad relies on support from minority Shiites, Christians and his fellow Alawites.
On Beirut's beach promenade, opinions about Hezbollah's new strategy seemed to fall along religious lines.
Mahmoud Masoud, a Sunni, said he fears Lebanon will become more unstable. “I don't want to see everything I've worked for and my country fall apart because of a certain group's interests,” he said of Hezbollah.
Tamam Alameh, a Shiite, sided with Hezbollah. “The Syrians helped Lebanon a lot. We should help them and rid them of the conflict in their country,” he said.
The rockets struck early Sunday in south Beirut, an unusual type of attack. In occasional sectarian flare-ups since the end of Lebanon's 15-year civil war in 1990, rival groups have fought mostly in the streets.
One rocket hit a car dealership in the Mar Mikhael district, wounding four Syrian workers, badly damaging two cars, and spraying others with shrapnel. Part of the rocket's main body was embedded in the ground, where a Lebanese soldier measured its diameter.
The second rocket tore through a second-floor apartment in the Chiyah district, about one mile away. It damaged a living room, but no one was hurt.
Rocket launchers were later found in the woods in a predominantly Christian and Druse area southeast of Beirut, security officials said.
There was no claim of responsibility, but the attack was widely portrayed as retaliation for Nasrallah's defiant speech and Hezbollah's participation in a regime offensive in the past week on the rebel-held Syrian town of Qusair, near Lebanon. The regime has pushed back the rebels in Qusair, but so far has failed to dislodge them.
In an amateur video posted online a few days ago, a rebel commander threatened to hit Hezbollah targets in south Beirut in retaliation for the militia's part in the fight for Qusair.
Some said the rockets are just one sign that Lebanon is becoming a battleground.
“Nasrallah declared that he is part of the Syrian civil war,” said Nadim Koteich, a TV talk show host and frequent Hezbollah critic. “He did not tell the Lebanese people why he thinks this civil war will not come to Lebanon.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Egypt strikes a perilous repose
- Study: Afghan copter choice not best
- Taste of free enterprise whets Cubans’ appetite
- Iran presses ahead with uranium
- Defense Secretary Hagel skips visit with Afghan President Karzai
- Becoming extra wife is fantasy in Kazakhstan
- Protesters rip fences, Chevron’s plans
- Autobahn toll plan attracts backlash
- Sentences reduced for 14 female protesters in Egypt
- Bali summit yields global trade deal
- Mexico may open up oil production