Lebanon attacks rekindle security fears

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The explosion, close to the Randa/Alcalay road intersection in Beirut’s Kfar Shouba area, was one of several bombings in the city on 9 June An explosion in Beirut…

Lebanon attacks rekindle security fears

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The explosion, close to the Randa/Alcalay road intersection in Beirut’s Kfar Shouba area, was one of several bombings in the city on 9 June

An explosion in Beirut has reignited security concerns in the Mediterranean country, weeks after explosions in the capital’s port area.

In June, nearly 20 people were killed and hundreds injured when two explosions ripped through two locations in the southern suburbs of the Lebanese capital.

Politicians and religious leaders are now warning that the country is in danger.

In a report entitled “Lebanon Today”, the AFP news agency quoted former Internal Security Forces chief Wissam al-Hassan as saying that the attacks are in line with the war the country experienced in the 1980s and 1990s.

Image copyright AFP Image caption The area hit by the explosions was once home to protesters calling for Syria to withdraw

Many fear the attackers aim to ignite major disturbances in the country of about 4.5 million people.

The Israeli-occupied South Lebanon led the way in this country’s 21-year civil war, as sectarian differences fuelled violence in villages and towns that were divided between the Amal and Hezbollah-dominated north and the majority Sunni and Christian south.

Image copyright AFP Image caption Is the area we are looking at the same one where the former Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr el-Bared was captured by Hezbollah, then fighting for the Syrian regime, in 2008?

According to AFP, he also said that his officers told him to launch their search for suspects but were initially refused.

Ambassadors from major western powers also issued a statement condemning the “despicable attack” and denouncing the “cycle of violence that can only lead to the further deterioration of security, stability and unity in Lebanon”.

Violence flared in the country on 9 June, when a car bomb went off near the Randa/Alcalay road intersection in Beirut’s Kfar Shouba district.

Around 100 people were injured in that attack, which appeared to be aimed at the government’s decision to allow Lebanon’s Iranian-backed Hezbollah group to play a role in Syria’s ongoing civil war.

On 11 June, a second explosion hit the eastern Lebanese city of Tripoli as security forces were closing in on supporters of Islamic State.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The first explosion on June 6 was followed by another five hours later in Beirut’s southern suburbs

That explosion was followed by an explosion in the country’s southern suburbs, with many claiming that another, even bigger attack had been pre-planned.

Conflicting figures have been put on the number of people killed in those two attacks.

Lebanon’s government initially closed its borders to hundreds of Syrian refugees fleeing to the country.

As of the end of June, however, it said it had taken in nearly half a million Syrian refugees – triple the estimate given by the United Nations.

In a statement issued the day after the explosion in Lebanon’s southern suburbs, US President Donald Trump said his country was “working closely with our allies” in an effort to “bring down the horrendous cost of refugee protection”.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Washington said in June that it was working closely with allies to help Lebanon deal with the refugee crisis

CNN quoted US Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth Richard as saying the US was working with the UN, EU and others to mitigate the impact of the conflict in Syria on Lebanon.

Lebanon has become a major hub for the influx of refugees from the civil war in Syria.

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