Skip to main content

Rockets strike Beirut suburb as sectarian strife flares in Lebanon, Syria

By Saad Abedine and Ben Brumfield, CNN
updated 7:42 AM EDT, Mon May 27, 2013
Lebanese men inspect destroyed cars after two rockets exploded in Shiah, a southern suburb of Beirut, on Sunday.
Lebanese men inspect destroyed cars after two rockets exploded in Shiah, a southern suburb of Beirut, on Sunday.
  • NEW: Two rockets also fall on a Hezbollah stronghold in northern Lebanon
  • Two rockets injure at least five people, including three Syrians, in the Beirut suburb of Dahiye
  • Hezbollah has declared military support for Syria's government
  • The Lebanese interior minister calls his country's sectarian tensions "intolerable"

(CNN) -- Four rockets struck strongholds of the militant group Hezbollah in Lebanon on Sunday, highlighting fears of sectarian tensions in the country that seem to mirror the strife in the Syrian civil war.

The first two struck a predominately Shiite Beirut suburb of Dahiye, Lebanon's state news agency reported.

One of the rockets injured five people, including three Syrians, the National News Agency reported. The number of casualties from the second one was not immediately known.

Two more rockets pounded a residential area in the northern city of al-Hermel, also a Shiite neighborhood, causing property damage, NNA reported.

Adding fuel to the fire in Syria
Syrian forces pound rebel stronghold
Al-Assad: I'll consider talks, but ...

Syrian rebels have shelled al-Hermel in the past, saying they are responding to military support of the Syrian regime by Hezbollah, which is a Shiite militia.

Authorities have not identified any suspects in Sunday's attacks.

Syria agrees 'in principle' to attend peace conference

Concerns that sectarian strife in Syria may trigger ethnic conflict within Lebanon's borders escalated Saturday, when Hezbollah declared it is going to war in Syria on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Lebanon's caretaker interior minister reflected the anxiety when he visited the site of Sunday's attack, which he called "an act of sabotage to create tensions."

"God willing, the events in Syria will not spill over into Lebanon, and we hope that we will have more men with more reason because we just went over 40 years of civil war," Marwan Charbel told NNA.

At the same time, he emphasized that he does not know who is to blame for the attack.

Like Syria, Lebanon's population is divided into religious and ethnic factions, some bitterly at odds with each other.

Hezbollah is one of the largest and best armed factions. It draws most of its foreign support from Shiite-dominated Iran and from the al-Assad government in Syria, which the U.S. accuses of acting as a conduit for Tehran's weapons deliveries.

His fighters have participated unofficially in towns close to Lebanon's border alongside Syrian government troops in battles against al-Assad's opponents. On Saturday, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah promised al-Assad victory with Hezbollah's help.

Nasrallah also called for his opponents in Lebanon to fight against Hezbollah on Syrian soil, hoping to divert armed conflict away from Lebanon and into the active battle field next door.

"We are fighting in Syria, so let us fight there instead and deflect Lebanon from the conflict, the fighting, the confrontations and the bloodshed," he said.

Charbel acknowledged the dangerous potential in Lebanon's rising tensions.

"We are now living in an intolerable environment."

Hezbollah leader acknowledges fighters' presence in Syria town

CNN's Nada Husseini in Beirut contributed to this report.

Part of complete coverage on
Syrian crisis
updated 8:28 AM EST, Tue March 4, 2014
Syria has submitted a revised proposal "that aims to complete the removal of all chemicals" from the country before the end of April.
updated 5:32 AM EST, Tue February 18, 2014
CNN's Arwa Damon reports on ISIS defector who says destroying ISIS as critical as defeating regime.
updated 10:53 PM EST, Mon February 17, 2014
The U.S. wants a United Nations resolution that will, among other things, bring humanitarian aid for refugees in Syria.
updated 7:59 AM EST, Mon February 17, 2014
When the radical Islamist militia ISIS arrived in the Syrian town of Addana a year ago, many welcomed them. What followed changed their minds.
updated 9:49 AM EST, Mon February 17, 2014
CNN obtained video clips from Syrian activists documenting the atrocities committed by members of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, known as ISIS.
updated 3:17 PM EST, Tue February 18, 2014
On Crossfire, Danielle Pletka discusses what the U.S. needs to do to resolve the Syria crisis.
updated 8:01 PM EST, Wed February 5, 2014
Her almond-shaped brown eyes shine through her sunken face as a doctor lifts her sweater to reveal a tiny rib cage pushing against her skin.
updated 12:46 PM EST, Tue February 4, 2014
The Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan is home to around 100,000 Syrian refugees. CNN spent several days meeting the residents of the camp.
updated 2:59 PM EST, Wed January 22, 2014
Renowned war crimes prosecutors and forensic experts have found "direct evidence" of "torture and killing" by the Assad regime.
Traumatized children who have witnessed the horrors of war are being helped to read -- and rebuild a normal life. CNN's Becky Anderson reports.
updated 7:07 AM EST, Thu January 23, 2014
A battle zone tour organized by the Syrian government for CNN and several other media outlets Wednesday was more than bizarre.
updated 12:35 PM EST, Wed January 22, 2014
CNN's Atika Shubert meets with the family of a little girl who was wounded in Syria, now living in a refugee camp.
updated 9:56 AM EST, Mon January 27, 2014
110 year old, Jabari Alawali walked for over 10 hours to reach Jordan from Syria.