Charbel says the rocket attack was an act of “sabotage”


Two rockets have hit a district in the southern part of Lebanon’s capital, wounding at least five people.

Initial reports said one of the rockets landed in the Mar Mikhael district in Beirut on Sunday, while the second fell on a car exhibit on the street.

Lebanon’s state agency said security forces were looking for a third rocket that fell but did not explode.

Marwan Sharbel, the country’s interior minister, inspected the scene where the rockets fell, saying they were fired from the southeastern side of the area but that it was too early to know who fired them.

It was an act of “sabotage”, he said.

Tensions have been running high in Lebanon as Syrian rebels have threatened to retaliate against the Hezbollah group for sending fighters to assist the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the battle to end a two-year revolt against his rule.

Sunday’s attack came a day after a speech by the Shia armed group’s leader Hassan Nasrallah, in which he committed to fighting in Syria’s conflict.

Al Jazeera’s Rula Amin, reporting from Beirut, said security forces surrounded the area where the rockets fell but have yet to provide more information on the attack.

“The attack does not come as a surprise and security forces had already been heavily deployed in the area in anticipation for any violence,” she said.

Direct involvement in war

On Saturday, Hezbollah’s leader said his fighters were battling in Syria against Islamic radicals who posed a danger to Lebanon, and pledged that his group would not allow Syrian rebels to control areas along the Lebanese border.

His speech offered the clearest public confirmation yet that the Iranian-backed group was directly involved in Syria’s war.

Hezbollah initially tried to play down its involvement, but could no longer do so after dozens of its fighters were killed in the Syrian border town of Qusayr and buried in large funerals in Lebanon.

He spoke as battles raged in Qusayr under fire for a seventh straight day as government forces backed by the Hezbollah fighters battled to drive out Syrian rebels.

At least 40 people were reported killed on Saturday in what residents told Al Jazeera was the worst fighting they had seen since the start of the civil war.

Nasrallah vowed “victory” in Syria, warning that the fall of the Damascus regime would plunge the Middle East into a “dark period”.

In a televised address, Nasrallah pledged that Hezbollah would turn the tide of the conflict in Assad’s favour, and stay as long as necessary to do so.

“We will continue this road until the end, we will take the responsibility and we will make all the sacrifices,” he said. “We will be victorious.”

Al Jazeera

Update: Hezbollah’s al manar reported that the third, misfired, rocket was found in a valley southeast of Beirut