Syrian supporters of Al-Nusra march in Aleppo
Syrian supporters of Al-Nusra march in Aleppo AFP photo

A Lebanese branch of an Al-Qaeda affiliated Syrian rebel group has claimed responsibility for Thursday’s car bomb explosion in the town of Hermel, reports the Daily Star.

The explosion killed four people and wounded 43. Hermel has a primarily Shiite Muslim population, and is in the Bekaa region, where the Shiite Muslim Hezbollah terrorist group is highly influential.

The Daily Star reported that Nusra Front in Lebanon, an offshoot of the Al-Nusra Front group in Syria, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was in retaliation for the involvement in Syria of Hezbollah.

“[We] shook a stronghold of Iran’s party in Hermel with a suicide bombing spearheaded by one of Nusra Front in Lebanon’s men in response to what the group is committing as crimes against Sunni women and children in Syria,” the group said on its Twitter feed, according to the report.

Al-Nusra Front has pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri and has been blacklisted by the United States and the United Nations as a terrorist group.

The group was formed in January of 2012 with the purpose of fighting Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s forces and establishing an Islamic Caliphate in Syria.

Al-Nusra is one of 13 factions in a radical Islamist rebel council that announced its secession from the main opposition force and declared its own Islamic state in Aleppo.

Fighters from the group have committed atrocities during the civil war in Syria and the group’s leader, Abu Mohammed al-Golani, sought to kidnap United Nations workers.

Thursday’s blast in Lebanon was the latest in the ongoing sectarian clashes in the country. Hezbollah strongholds have previously been targeted by Syrian rebels over the group’s support for the Assad regime.

Hezbollah has actively helped Assad’s troops in the war against rebels trying to topple him. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has promised that his group will be wherever is needed in Syria and has also declared he was willing to go fight in Syria himself.