Bomb blast wounds 3 students in Hezbollah stronghold in south Lebanon, officials say

By Bassem Mroue, AP
Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bomb hurts 3 in south Lebanon Hezbollah stronghold

BEIRUT — A bomb apparently meant for a Hezbollah figure went off Wednesday in a southern Lebanese stronghold of the militant group, wounding his daughter and two other students waiting for their school bus, military and security officials said.

The officials said the bomb exploded around 7:30 a.m. (0530 GMT) at the entrance of an apartment building in the village of Kfar Fila. The three wounded students — two girls and a boy, whose ages range between seven and 16 — were opening the building’s entrance door at the time of the blast.

The village is located in an area known as a stronghold of the Iran and Syria-backed Shiite militant group.

The region, north of the Litani River and far from the border with Israel, is not part of a volatile border zone in which Hezbollah has been banned from having weapons under a U.N. resolution that ended the 2006 war between the militant group and Israel.

Security officials said the target was likely a Hezbollah security official who lives in the building. Another Hezbollah supporter also lives in the same building, they said.

The Hezbollah official’s 16-year old daughter and the Hezbollah supporter’s son and daughter were wounded, the security officials said. They were rushed to hospitals in the market town of Nabatiyeh and the nearby village of Toul.

An Associated Press photographer at the scene said the building’s metal door was not damaged but its glass window was shattered. Blood could be seen on the floor of the entrance of the two-story building.

Lebanese troops and police officers later cordoned off the building and an investigation got under way, security officials said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Attacks against prominent Hezbollah figures are not uncommon. Hezbollah’s military commander Imad Mughniyeh was killed by a car bomb in Syria in 2008.

In 2005, a senior Hezbollah instructor escaped an assassination attempt when a bomb blew up his car seconds after he got out of the vehicle in Lebanon’s eastern city of Baalbek. A year earlier, a car bomb killed veteran Hezbollah commander Ghaleb Awali in south Beirut. In 2003, another car bomb killed Ali Hussein Saleh, believed to have been a Hezbollah explosives expert.

The militant group, which has in the past blamed Israel for the attacks, did not comment on Wednesday’s bombing.

will not be displayed