At least five rockets launched from across Lebanon’s border with Syria hit the eastern city of Baalbek Wednesday, including two that landed near the city’s renowned Roman ruins, a security source told AFP.
Another three rockets that hit Hezbollah bastion Baalbek landed in the city centre, the source said on condition of anonymity, adding that several other missiles landed in areas near the city.
Two people were injured in the attack, the source added.
The attack came hours after Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah and the Syrian army took control of central Syria’s Qusayr, located near the border with the small Mediterranean country.
Lebanon has suffered an escalating spillover of Syria’s two-year conflict, though Wednesday’s rocket attack was the first on Baalbek, a Hezbollah stronghold in eastern Lebanon, since the eruption of a revolt against President Bashar al-Assad.
As soon as the rockets landed, armed men took to the streets of Baalbek, residents said, while others drove up to the border area, the security source and a resident said.
“Many men have gone up to the border area, and we are ready to go after them, to defend Lebanon” against Syria’s rebels, said Ali Abu Zahi, a 40-year-old resident of Baalbek.
Lebanon has officially maintained a policy of neutrality in Syria’s conflict, but powerful Hezbollah has played a crucial role in the takeover of Qusayr, which until Wednesday had been under Syrian insurgent control for a year.
Lebanon is sharply divided along sectarian lines that have been emphasised by the conflict in Syria.
Sunni-led March 14 supports the revolt against Assad, while Shiite Hezbollah and its allies back Assad’s forces.