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Lebanese army blows up suspect car close to Syrian border

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[March 17, 2014]  BEIRUT (Reuters)  Lebanon's army blew up a car on Monday in the border region with Syria which they suspected contained explosives and was being prepared for use in a bomb attack, security sources said.

They said the car was found in a rural area between the Bekaa Valley villages of Ras Baalbek and Fakeha, about 5 km (3 miles) north of a village where a suicide car bombing killed three people on Sunday.

Sunday's bombing, which killed two members of the Lebanese Shi'ite Muslim militant group Hezbollah, appeared to be retaliation for Hezbollah's support for Syrian troops who had recaptured the border town of Yabroud from rebel fighters.

Hezbollah's Al-Manar television broadcast footage on Monday of what it said was the suspect vehicle, a grey-colored car parked in an olive grove, before it was blown up.

Hezbollah has been the target of repeated car bombings and rocket fire inside Lebanon during the past year over its involvement in Syria's civil war.

It is backing President Bashar al-Assad, whose minority Alawite sect is an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam, against a Sunni Muslim-led insurgency which is supported by Lebanon's Sunnis.

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Many in Lebanon blame Hezbollah for dragging the country into the Syrian conflict, and radical Sunni groups have pledged to keep attacking it in Lebanon  even in solely civilian areas  until it withdraws from Syria.

(Editing by Louise Ireland)

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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