Update on the Hermel suicide bombing in northeast Lebanon


army suicide bomb victims khoury-faitrouniThe Lebanese army provided on Sunday more details on the suicide bomb explosion that took place Saturday in the Beqaa town of Hermel .

The car involved was a black 1994 Grand Cherokee SUV.

The bomb used in the attack weighed around 125 kg ( 275 lbs).

Three people were killed in the explosion and 18 were wounded

The 2 members of the Lebanese army that were killed were identified as

Officer Elias Khoury( 26) who hails from the town of Zahle

Soldier Hamza al Faitrouni( 26) who hails from the town of Baalbeck.

The civilian that was killed was identified as Mohammad Deeb Ayoub

On Saturday, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a Lebanese Armed Forces checkpoint at the entrance of Beqaa’s Hermel. It was heading to downtown Hermel

An Islamist terrorist group suspected of links to al-Qaida declared Saturday responsibility for the suicide bombing

This is the same organization that declared responsibility for the February 1 attack.

The bombing is the latest in a string of attacks targeting Hezbollah-dominated areas in Lebanon. Two car bombs exploded in Bir Hassan, in Beirut’s south suburbs on Wednesday, killing 11 people. On February 1, another bomb exploded at a gas station in Hermel, killing four. Both areas are Hezbollah strongholds.

Al Nusra Front declared last January 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.

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.

Update: Al-Jadeed ( New TV) reported that the army arrested at a checkpoint in Hermel a Syrian man with false identification cards and driving a van with fake registration papers.

Update 2: National News Agency reported that the Army Intelligence arrested on Sunday a suspected terrorist in the Bekaa region of al-Qaa.

It said that it arrested Qassem al-Atrash and that it is verifying his identity.

Voice of Lebanon radio (93.3) had identified him as Hussein Qassem al-Atrash, uncle of Omar al-Atrash, who is charged with transporting suicide bombers to Lebanon.

Omar al-Atrash, 24, who was arrested in January has also been charged with detonating bombs and explosive-rigged vehicles, attacking the army in Majdelyoun and al-Awwali bridge areas in the southern city of Sidon in December and launching rockets on Israel.

Hussein Qassem al-Atrash is suspected of having cooperated with his nephew in transporting booby-trapped vehicles to Lebanon.

Update 3- Hezbollah Nawar al-Sahili said on Sunday. “The lebanese army spared the city of Hermel a huge catastrophe, by intercepting the suicide bomber at the checkpoint ”

Photo: The 2 members of the Lebanese army that were killed in the Hermel suicide bombing. Officer Elias Khoury ( R) and Hamza al Faitrouni