Restaurant Bombed in South Lebanon
An explosion ripped through a restaurant in the southern Lebanese city of Tyre at dawn on Wednesday.
The explosion, which happened at around 5am local time (0300 GMT), was caused by a two kilogram bomb made of TNT that was left on the staircase of the Tyros restaurant on the waterfront.
No physical injuries were reported in the bombing, which occurred just meters from the Queen Elissa Hotel, whose nightclub was the target of a bombing attack on November 16. A nearby store was targeted the same night.
No one has claimed responsibility for the three bombings, but Lebanese security officials believe the establishments may have been targeted by Islamic extremists because they sold alcohol.
The security situation in south Lebanon, where the Hizbullah terror militias reign supreme, has deteriorated significantly in the past year.
Earlier in December five French peacekeepers serving with UNIFIL were wounded in a roadside bomb attack near Tyre. It was the third such attack targeting UNIFIL this year. Six Italian peacekeepers were wounded in a roadside bombing in May and five French soldiers were wounded in a similar blast in July.
Shortly after the attack the UN Security Council extended the UNIFIL mandate in south Lebanon, but warned more terror attacks could “affect future operations.”
Additionally, on December 11, a rocket launched from south Lebanon toward Israel fell short of its target, seriously wounding a Lebanese woman. That launch came just two weeks after rockets fired from south Lebanon hit northern Israel in the first such attack in two years. Israeli responded with an artillery counter-strike on the Lebanese border village where the launcher was located.
Senior IDF and Lebanese military officers joined UNIFIL commanders for tripartite security talks after the attacks, but issued no official comment. Lebanese security forces have sought to step up operations in south Lebanon in recent months.
Lebanese president Michel Sleiman, however, condemned both the rocket attacks on Israel and bombings targeting UNIFIL as acts of terror.
“We condemn the terrorist attacks on UNIFIL and the firing of rockets which is against the state in Lebanon and Lebanese sovereignty. [Rocket launch] is targeting Lebanon and harming its reputation, its image, stability and security. We must not back off in the face of terrorism,” Sleiman told Lebanese troops.
He was joined by Lebanese Forces party leader Samir GeaGea and former prime minister turned Future Movement leader Saad Hariri in condemning the upsurge in violence in South Lebanon.
Hariri, in a veiled reference to Hizbullah, said south Lebanon must not be used "for settling scores." GeaGea openly accused Hizbullah of the attacks and accused the terror group of using 'resistance' as a pretext for unilaterally drawing Lebanon into devastating wars [with Israel].
They have also called for talks focused on disarming Hizbullah who, they say, has unduly influences Lebanon's politics and undermined the will of the Lebanese people with the threat – and exercise – of violence.
Earlier this year four Hizbullah terrorists were indicted for the 2005 assassination of late Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.