War talk in Lebanon: Will there be a third Lebanon-Israel war this summer?
Beirut, Lebanon–Shattered glass still lines the narrow avenue behind the Blom Bank headquarters near downtown Beirut. Security officers direct traffic amidst the destroyed cars and debris. But aside from this street, all in the surrounding Verdun neighborhood remains business as usual after a bomb explodedoutside the bank on June 12, killing none and wounding two.
Who carried out the attack remains unknown. Blom Bank is one of the Lebanese banks to comply with a new U.S. law restricting financial dealings with Hezbollah, though, and rumors soon surfaced that the Shia militant group was behind the bombing.
Two have been arrested thus far while the investigation continues. The explosion was the latest of a series of mini escalations in the country. Since the spring, various Lebanese and international media outlets have reported on rumblings that a third war between neighboring Israel and Hezbollah may be on horizon. But is the threat real? Or merely conjecture?
The following is a breakdown of Lebanese and international media reports on a new war’s possibility alongside pictures of three areas significantly affected by the previous 2006 Lebanon war: Baalbek, a Hezbollah stronghold; Tyre, a city in the south near the Israeli border; and Beirut, the Lebanese capital.
Roman ruins in Baalbek, facing the Syrian border. In February, Hassan Nasrallah boasted of Hezbollah’s ability to hit Israel’s Ammonia gas storage facilities near Haifa, which he said would have the affect of an ‘atomic bomb.’ Hezbollah is a Shia group formed in 1985 to fight Israel’s invasion of south Lebanon with strong ties to Iran.
A Shia mosque in Baalbek. Also in February, Saudi Arabia announced the cancellation of its aid to Lebanon and its armed forces, the latest in a series of measures the country is taking in the region against Iran and its allies-like Hezbollah.
Words and photos by Adam Lucente, unless otherwise noted
Source: Al Bawaba