Timeline: Tension in Lebanon

Country hit by string of violent incidents since Hezbollah declared involvement in neighbouring Syria’s civil war.

Sectarian tensions have increased in Lebanese cities such as Tripoli, Baalbek, Sidon and Beirut [Reuters]

Lebanon has been hit by string of violent incidents since Hezbollah declared involvement in neighbouring Syria’s civil war. 

Below are some of the incidents that have struck the country since:

June 24, 2014: A suicide bomber blows up a car near a security forces checkpoint, injuring 15 people and damaging a nearby cafe.

June 20, 2014: Lebanese security chief Abbas Ibrahim was the target of the “assassination attempt” during a suicide blast near a checkpoint on the main highway between Beirut and Damascus. Ibrahim was unharmed but two others were killed and 20 others injured in the Bekaa Valley attack.

March 17, 2014: A suicide car bomb attack kills at least four people including local Hezbollah leader Abdul Rahman al-Qadhi in a Hezbollah-dominated area of the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, near the border with Syria. 

February 3, 2014: A suicide bomber detonates an explosive belt inside a public minibus in Choueifat, south of Beirut, killing himself and another person and wounded three people, according to government sources.

February 1, 2014: The Nusra Front in Lebanon claims responsibility on Twitter for apparent suicide blast at petrol station in Hermel, a Hezbollah stronghold bordering Syria in eastern Lebanon, saying the attack was in response to the armed Shia group’s involvement in Syria. At least four people are killed and more than 15 are wounded in the bombing, according to Lebanon’s interior minister.

January 2, 2014: A powerful explosion rocks the southern suburbs of the Lebanese capital Beirut, a Hezbollah stronghold, during rush hour, killing at least four people and wounding scores more.

December 27, 2013: Mohamad Chatah, Lebanon’s former finance minister, is killed by a car bomb that hit in the centre of the capital Beirut along with at least five others.

December 17, 2013: A car bomb strikes a Hezbollah stronghold in eastern Lebanon, injuring both civilians and members, according to the state-run news agency.

November 19, 2013: The Iranian embassy in Beirut is hit by a double suicide attack, killing at least 23 people and wounding 150 others. The al-Qaeda-linked group Abdullah Azzam Brigades says it carried out the attack.

August 23, 2013: At least 47 people have been killed and more than 500 wounded after twin car bombs exploded outside mosques in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, according to the health ministry. The blasts in the predominantly Sunni city went off on Friday, when mosques were packed with worshippers for the noon prayers.

August 15, 2013: A car-bomb explosion killed at least 20 people near a Hezbollah facility in a southern suburb of Beirut. At least 200 people were injured in the blast, which occurred between the Bir el-Abed and Roueiss neighbourhoods. An unknown Syrian Sunni group called Aysha Umm-al Mouemeneen claimed responsibility.

July 9, 2013: A car bomb wounded at least 53 people in Dahiyeh, a mainly Shia neighbourhood in southern Beirut where many support Hezbollah. The blast occurred in the car park of a supermarket in the residential area of Bir el-Abed, causing heavy damage but no fatalities. No group has claimed responsibility.

June 24, 2013: Lebanese troops battled heavily armed followers of Sunni religious leader Ahmad al-Assir who camped in a mosque complex in the southern city of Sidon. At least 16 soldiers and an unknown number of Assir’s fighters were killed. The clashes continued for several days, with supporters of Assir using the mosque complex to fire on troops, while using civilians as shields. The fighting raged around Abra and the Ain el Helweh Palestinian refugee camp near Sidon, where members of the Jund al-Sham and Fatah al-Islam armed groups also joined the battle against the army.

June 14, 2013: Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader, declared that the Lebanese armed group will keep fighting for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after it spearheaded the recapture of the strategic Syrian city of Qusayr. In a televised speech, Nasrallah said Hezbollah was aware of the cost of military engagement in Syria’s civil war and would not be deflected from its goals. “We will not change our position,” he said. “After Qusayr is the same as before Qusayr”.

June 5, 2013: In a rapid overnight offensive, the Syrian army, backed by Lebanese Hezbollah fighters, regained control of the city of Qusayr on the border with Lebanon after weeks of fierce fighting.

May 26, 2013: Two rockets hit a district in the southern part of Beirut, wounding at least five people. One rocket struck a car dealership in the Mar Mikhael district on the edge of Beirut, injuring Syrian workers. Another rocket hit the second floor of an apartment building in the Shiyah district, about 2km away, without causing any injuries. Marwan Charbel, Lebanon’s interior minister, visited the area, saying the rockets were fired from the southeastern side of Beirut but that it was not clear who fired them.

May 20, 2013: Several people were killed and many more wounded in days of fighting in Lebanon’s northern city of Tripoli, as sectarian violence continued to spill over from the civil war in Syria. The fighting in Tripoli, where an Alawite minority lives on a hill overlooking the mainly Sunni Muslim port city, was ignited by tensions over an assault by Syrian troops backed by Hezbollah the rebel-held Syrian border town of Qusayr. Sunnis in Lebanon mostly sympathise with a Sunni-led revolt against Assad, whose minority Alawite sect is an offshoot of Shia Islam. Lebanese fighters are believed to be crossing the border to join fighting in Syria on both sides of a conflict which has spilled over into Lebanon, especially in Tripoli.

May 1, 2013: Nasrallah, the Hezbollah chief, promised not to let the government of neighbouring Syria fall, saying it has “real friends in the region”. Nasrallah’s televised address angered the Syrian opposition who accused his group of supplying assistance to the forces of Assad.

Source: Al Jazeera