Al-Qaida-linked group targets Hezbollah backers in Lebanon
By The Associated Press
Published: Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014, 7:00 p.m.
BEIRUT — A group linked to al-Qaida claimed responsibility on Saturday for a suicide car bombing last week in a Shiite-dominated neighborhood in Lebanon, as its fighters fought other rebels in neighboring Syria in the most serious infighting since the uprising began.
It was the first time that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant claimed responsibility for an attack in Lebanon, underscoring how the complex Syrian war is increasingly spilling into its smaller neighbor.
The group may have rushed to claim responsibility to try to divert attention from the infighting in Syria, said Aymenn al-Tamimi, an expert on the country's militant groups.
At least five people were killed in the Thursday attack that targeted a south Beirut neighborhood that is bastion of support for the Shiite group Hezbollah.
ISIL vowed more attacks.
It was “the first small payment of a heavy account which these criminal hypocrites should wait for,” it said in a statement, referring to Hezbollah. The statement was posted on a website used by Sunni militants.
The al-Qaida group sought to punish Hezbollah — and its ordinary Shiite Lebanese backers — for sending fighters to Syria to shore up forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad, who is trying to quell an armed uprising against his rule.
The bombing was the latest in a wave of attacks to hit Lebanon in recent months. The violence has targeted both Sunni and Shiite neighborhoods, further stoking sectarian tensions that are running high.
It also reflected how Lebanese are turning on each other. On Saturday, Lebanese authorities confirmed the identity of the suicide bomber, the state news agency reported. Media identified him as a Lebanese citizen from a northern border town with Syria.
Thursday's bombing came a week after a car bombing in Beirut killed prominent Sunni politician Mohammed Chatah. The top aide to ex-Prime Minister Saad Hariri was critical of Assad and his Hezbollah allies.
The tensions in Lebanon reflect the increasingly sectarian nature of the Syrian war, where hard-line Sunni rebels dominating rebel groups have shown little tolerance for Syria's patchwork of minorities.
In response, Syrian minorities have rallied behind Assad or remained neutral, fearing for their future should Sunni extremists come to power.
ISIL is one of the strongest rebel groups in Syria.
It emerged from the Sunni heartland of neighboring Iraq, where it also has targeted Shiites with car bombs, sending the country to the brink of civil war.
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.
- Investigation into missing Malaysia flight centers on 2 men who boarded with stolen passports
- Ukraine control of bases erodes
- Investigators chase ‘every angle’ in missing Malaysian jet
- Ukraine control of bases erodes
- Western Pennsylvania engineer aboard missing Malaysia Airlines flight
- Israelis kill Jordanian judge at border checkpoint
- Taliban threatens to disrupt presidential election in Afghanistan
- Autopsy details sicken Pistorius
- Van der Sloot to be extradited to U.S. in 2038
- Jailed Egyptian activists allege abuse by prison guards
- Syrian rebels reportedly release nuns held since December