An Islamist terrorist group suspected of links to al-Qaida declared Monday responsibility for the Choueifat suicide bombing in in which no one was killed except the suicide bomber and 2 were injured including the driver of the van.
Al-Nusra Front in Lebanon which is suspected of ties to the Syrian based Jabhat al Nusra, an Al Qaeda linked terrorist group claimed around midnight Monday responsibility for the bombing and said the attack targeted a Hezbollah checkpoint.
Al Nusra claimed that ” contrary to what was declared By Hezbollah’s al Manar station 30 passengers of the van were killed in addition to 10 Hezbollah members that were at the nearby checkpoint.” The group added ” al Manar was trying to deceive the Shiite public opinion by declaring that no one was killed”.
The explosion occurred in a van that was taking passengers along the highway in Choueifat, a district of south Beirut, to al Dhahieh area a stronghold of the Shiite militant movement Hezbollah .
Caretaker Interior Minister Marwan Charbel told Reuters that the van’s driver – who survived the blast but was seriously injured – said the bomber was a young man who blew himself up when the driver confronted him because he thought he looked suspicious.
“The situation in Lebanon has become connected with the situation in Syria, and the explosions will not end in Lebanon before the war in Syria ends,” Charbel said.
This development comes after al Nusra Front declared last Saturday responsibility for the deadly bombing in Hermel in which 4 people were killed and dozens were in injured.
The terror group declared last week that all the areas in Lebanon where the Iranian backed Shiite Hezbollah militant group operates are “legitimate targets” for attack and warned the Sunnis to avoid them.
“We, al-Nusra Front in Lebanon, announce that Iran’s party (Hezbollah) and all its bases and strongholds are legitimate targets for us, wherever they are,” the group said in a statement which was posted on the Internet on January 24, 2014.
Al Nusra also declared last Saturday that ” the fact we have been successful in targeting the same locations is another proof of Hezbollah’s increased weakness as a result of its involvement in the Syrian war ”
The war in Syria has inflamed sectarian tensions in Lebanon, with Hezbollah backing Assad’s regime despite the Baabda declaration.
The Baabda Declaration is an agreement that was reached between Lebanon’s opposing political leaders in 2012 which calls for distancing Lebanon from regional and international conflicts.