The Lebanese Sunni Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir said on Monday that the explosion last week in Beirut was a result of Hezbollah’s “crimes in Syria.”
Assir made the comments in an audio recording released on YouTube and reported by the Now Lebanon website. Last week’s explosion, in a Hezbollah stronghold, killed at least 20 people.
“The Dahiyeh explosion is a result of the crimes committed by Hezbollah against our brothers in Syria,” Assir stated.
Assir also said that “Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah used the term ‘Takfiris’ (radical Sunni Muslims -ed.) to do whatever he wants and to not be held accountable for the criminal acts he has done against Shiites first.”
The Sheikh, whose whereabouts are unknown, told Nasrallah, “Enough lying while you fight Sunni religiousness under the pretext of the term ‘Takfiris.’”
“Whoever incites sectarianism in Lebanon and outside is the one who rendered the resistance sectarian, dominated the institutions, and used the Lebanese Armed Forces and army intelligence to fight our families,” he stressed, according to Now Lebanon.
Several months ago, Assir lashed out at Hezbollah for helping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces fight the predominately Sunni opposition in the country, announcing the formation of “Free Resistance Brigades” to fight Hezbollah in Syria.
He said it was “a religious duty” for his Sunni followers to join the fight against Hezbollah and the Syrian regime.
It was later reported that Lebanese youth were responding to Assir’s call and were signing up for “armed Jihad in Syria.”
In June, Lebanese troops seized control of the headquarters of Assir whose supporters battled the army for two days, killing 16 soldiers. The cleric has since disappeared but is believed to be in Syria, reported Now Lebanon.
A previously unknown Sunni Islamist group took credit for last Thursday’s car bombing in an online video showing three masked men, two of them holding rifles.
"You, the pig Hassan Nasrallah, we send you our second powerful message because you haven't understood yet," said one member of the group, which called itself the Company of Aisha Umm al-Muminin, the Prophet Mohammed's favorite wife.
In a speech last Friday, Nasrallah declared he was willing to go fight in Syria himself.
“I will go myself to Syria if it is so necessary in the battle against the takfiris, Hezbollah and I will go to Syria” to fight rebels trying to oust the Damascus regime, Nasrallah said.