The Al Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant claimed credit for today’s bombing in the Lebanese city of Hermel. The attack is the latest by al Qaeda-affiliated groups that have targeted Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Today’s bombing in Hermel, a city near the border with Syria in the Hezbollah-dominated Bekaa Valley, took place at rush hour near a government building, the Daily Star reported.
The Al Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant, one of two official al Qaeda branches that operate in Syria, released a statement on Twitter claiming credit for the attack.
“By the grace of Allah, a stronghold of the Party of Iran [Hezbollah] was shaken in a martyrdom-seeking operation whose knight was one of the lions of the Al Nusrah Front in Lebanon,” the group said, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which obtained the tweets.
The Al Nusrah Front, whose emir publicly renewed his allegiance to Ayman al Zawahiri last year, said that the bombing was carried out “in response to the crimes that the party is perpetrating against the women and children of the Sunni people in Syria.”
Today’s bombing is the third major suicide attack and car bombing in Lebanon carried out by al Qaeda-affiliated groups against Iran and Hezbollah since mid-November 2013. The al Qaeda groups have advocated attacking Iranian and Hezbollah interests in Lebanon due to the former’s involvement in the Syrian civil war.
On Nov. 19, 2013, the Abdullah Azzam Brigades took responsibility for the suicide attack outside of the Iranian embassy in Beirut that killed 23 people, including Iran’s cultural attache. Just over a month later, Majid bin Muhammad al Majid, a Saudi jihadist who led the group, was captured and then died in custody shortly afterward. The Abdullah Azzam Brigades was established by one of Abu Musab al Zarqawi’s lieutenants.
And on Jan. 14, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham claimed credit for the Jan. 2 car bombing in Beirut that killed four people and wounded more than 70. The attack, which may have been executed by a suicide bomber, took place outside of Hezbollah’s political office in the neighborhood of Haret Hreik.
The ISIS described that attack as occurring “[a]t a time when the security efforts of the Islamic State were able to break the boundaries and penetrate the security system of the Rafidah [Shi’ite] Party of Satan [Hezbollah] in Lebanon, and to crush its strongholds in the heart of its home in what is called the security zone in the southern suburbs of Beirut on Thursday, 30 Safar 1435H [2 January 2014], in a first small payment from the heavy account that is awaiting those wicked criminals…”, according to a statement that was obtained and translated by SITE.