Explosions rip through building that might have housed Hezbollah weapons in southern Lebanon

By Zeina Karam, AP
Friday, September 3, 2010

Blasts rip through possible Hezbollah weapons site

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Explosions ripped through a building Friday in southern Lebanon that might have been used to store weapons by the militant group Hezbollah, security officials said.

There did not appear to be any casualties from the blasts, which set off a large fire, the officials said. Rescue crews responded to the scene.

Witnesses and an AP photographer said Hezbollah officials sealed off the area, pushing away journalists and cameramen.

The three-story building is in the Hezbollah-dominated village of Shehabiyeh, part of a volatile border zone south of the Litani River. Hezbollah has been banned from having weapons in the zone under a U.N. resolution that ended the 2006 war between the militant group and Israel.

The area is patrolled by U.N. troops and Lebanese soldiers and has been largely peaceful since the conflict, but there have been a number of mysterious explosions in the past year at buildings suspected of housing Hezbollah arms caches.

It was not clear what caused Friday’s blasts, but one of the officials said it might have been triggered by an electrical short circuit setting off secret Hezbollah munitions.

The two officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are barred by military regulations from speaking to journalists.

Hezbollah issued a statement saying there were no casualties or injuries. The statement did not comment on the nature of the explosions or whether the building had been used to store weapons.

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