Two rockets hit a Shia Muslim district of southern Beirut today and wounded several people, residents said, a day after the leader of Lebanese Shia militant movement Hezbollah said his group would continue fighting in Syria until victory.
It was the first attack to apparently target Hezbollah’s stronghold in the south of the Lebanese capital since the outbreak of the two-year conflict in neighbouring Syria, which has sharply heightened Lebanon’s own sectarian tensions.
One of the rockets landed in a car sales yard next to a busy road junction in the Chiah neighbourhood and the other hit an apartment several hundred metres away, wounding five people, residents said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility and the army said it was investigating who was behind the attack.
A Lebanese security source said three rocket launchers were found, one of which had failed to launch, in the hills to the southeast of the Lebanese capital, about 8 km from the area where the two rockets landed.
The rocket strikes came hours after Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, a powerful supporter of Bashar al-Assad in neighbouring Syria's civil war, said his fighters were committed to the conflict whatever the costs.
“We will continue to the end of the road. We accept this responsibility and will accept all sacrifices and expected consequences of this position,” he said in a televised speech yesterday evening. “We will be the ones who bring victory”.
Syria’s two-year uprising has polarised Lebanon, with Sunni Muslims supporting the rebellion against Assad and Shia Hezbollah and its allies standing by Assad.
Until recently, Nasrallah insisted that Hezbollah had not sent guerrillas to fight alongside Assad’s forces, but in his speech yesterday he said it had been fighting in Syria for several months to defend Lebanon from radical Islamist groups he said were now driving Syria’s rebellion.