A group suspected of links to Al-Qaeda warned Friday that all areas of Lebanon where the Shiite Hezbollah movement operates are “legitimate targets” for attack, telling Sunnis to avoid them.
“We, Al-Nusra Front in Lebanon, announce that Iran’s party (Hezbollah) and all its bases and… bastions are legitimate targets for us, wherever they are,” the group said in a statement posted on the Internet.
The statement comes three days after the group — which is believed to be a franchise of the Syrian Al-Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda linked rebel movement — claimed responsibility for a car bomb attack in Beirut’s southern suburbs that killed four people.
Tuesday’s was the sixth in a string if attacks targeting Lebanese areas dominated by Hezbollah since the Shiite group acknowledged sending fighters into neighbouring Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad.
Al-Nusra Front in Lebanon warned Sunnis against “approaching or residing in or near (Hezbollah’s) bases, and (to) avoid gathering around its meeting points.”
The group had earlier claimed a deadly car bomb attack in the heart of Hermel town in eastern Lebanon, which killed three people.
While Hezbollah is said to the target of such attacks, they have regularly killed civilians.
The war in Syria has inflamed sectarian tensions in Lebanon, with Hezbollah backing Assad’s regime and many Sunnis supporting the rebellion against him.