Al-Nusra Front in Lebanon claims suicide attack
Beirut: Jihadists claimed a deadly suicide attack against an army checkpoint in the Lebanese town of Hermel that they indicated was in retaliation for Hezbollah`s involvement in Syria`s war.
"In a blessed martyrdom (suicide) operation, the Hermel area was struck on Saturday," the Al-Nusra Front in Lebanon said on Twitter hours after the blast yesterday that killed two soldiers and a civilian.
It also posted photographs of children with amputated limbs, under the headline: "The crimes of the party of Iran (Hezbollah) in Syria".
Believed to be a franchise of Syria`s Al-Nusra Front, the arm of Al-Qaeda in the war-ravaged country, the Lebanese jihadist group recently claimed responsibility for attacks targeting Hermel and other areas of the Mediterranean country dominated by Hezbollah.
The organisation first surfaced in mid-December, when it claimed rocket attacks, also on Hermel.
Areas under Hezbollah domination in eastern Lebanon and southern Beirut have been targeted by a wave of violent attacks in recent months, since the Shiite group acknowledged it sent fighters to support President Bashar al-Assad`s troops in Syria`s war.
Until yesterday, the attacks had all killed civilians.
While Hezbollah has been the main focus of a string of attacks, many of them claimed by radical Sunni groups that oppose the Shiite movement`s role in Syria, the army has also been a target.
Extremist Sunnis see the army as taking the side of Hezbollah and other Assad allies in Lebanon`s violence, which has escalated in recent months as a result of Syria`s conflict.
Lebanon is deeply divided over the war in neighbouring Syria, with Hezbollah and its allies backing Assad and the Sunni-led opposition supporting the revolt.
Both sides of the Lebanese divide have regularly condemned such attacks.