Lebanon border city with Syria hit by suicide bombings

Tue 28 Jun 2016

Lebanon border city with Syria hit by suicide bombings

On 27 June at least eight suicide bombers blew themselves up in a village near the border with Syria, killing at least five people and injuring almost thirty. The village of Qaa, where the attacks happened, is mainly Christian. On 28 June, as a result of the bombings, the Lebanese army detained more than hundred Syrians who crossed the border illegally.

Turmoil in the region
Until now, no one claimed responsibility for the attacks but the Lebanese Hezbollah movement is accusing Islamic State (IS). The attacks are probably a spill over from the violence of the civil war in neighbouring Syria. Followers from IS were urged to attack non-believers in the Ramadan month, which started on 6 June. The security services in Lebanon were already on heightened alert for attacks, but could not prevent this incident. The Shi’ite Hezbollah group, is supporting President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Hezbollah has experienced earlier attacks by IS and other Sunni terrorist groups in retaliation over support of Assad. Both IS and Nusra Front (affiliated with Al Qaeda) are active on the Lebanese border.

103 Syrian refugees arrested
Lebanon's official National News Agency (NNA) said that on 28 June the Lebanese army raided an informal refugee camp in the Baalbek region. It has arrested 103 Syrians, who did not have legal papers, said the army. These attacks may turn the relationship between the Syrian refugees and Lebanese from annoyance to suspicion and accusation. As violence spilled over the border in the past, several towns in Eastern Lebanon announced curfews for refugees, fearing militants hiding among them. More than a million Syrian refugees flew from the civil war and came to Lebanon, which is approximately one fifth of the population in Lebanon.

In a statement the spokesman of the EU said: “The EU will continue to support Lebanon's state institutions in their efforts to maintain stability and to stand by Lebanon in its fight against terrorism”.

Sources: BBC1, BBC2, Reuters, ABC, ENPI, EU statement, HumanRightsWatch