Lebanon – A car bomb struck a stronghold of the Shia armed group Hezbollah in eastern Lebanon, injuring both civilians and members it was reported on the 17 Dec 13. The blast was detonated near the remote village of Sbouba in the Baalbek region and "was caused by a suicide bomber". Reports stated that the suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden vehicle into two vans carrying Hezbollah members which was known as a Hezbollah transit point. The explosion appears to be part of a wave of attacks on Hezbollah strongholds and interests in Lebanon. The group is fighting in Syria alongside President Bashar Assad's troops and has received threats of retaliation from the largely Sunni rebels fighting to topple him. Hezbollah's participation in the conflict in Syria is highly divisive in Lebanon, where many feel it has deviated from its original purpose of fighting Israel and that it has exposed the Shia community to retaliation. The group's open support of the Assad regime has enraged Sunnis and left it with no shortage of enemies eager to strike at its strongholds and leadership.
Former Lebanese minister Mohamad Chatah, who opposed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, was killed in a massive bomb blast which one of his political allies blamed on Lebanon's Shi'ite Hezbollah militia. Friday's attack also killed five other people and threw Lebanon, which has been drawn into neighbouring Syria's conflict, into further turmoil after a series of sectarian bombings aimed at Shi'ites and Sunnis over the past year. Former Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri accused Hezbollah of involvement in the killing of Chatah, his 62-year-old political adviser, saying it was "a new message of terrorism". "As far as we are concerned the suspects ... are those who are fleeing international justice and refusing to represent themselves before the international tribunal," Hariri said. Chatah's killing occurred three weeks before the long-delayed opening of a trial of five Hezbollah suspects indicted for the 2005 bombing which killed former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, Saad's father, and 21 other people. The trial is due to open in The Hague in January. The suspects are all fugitives and Hezbollah, which denies any role in the Hariri assassination, had refused to cooperate with the court, which it says is politically motivated. Preliminary U.N. investigations implicated Syrian officials. Chatah, a Sunni Muslim, was a vocal critic of Hezbollah. If the accusation is true that Chatah was killed by Hezbollah then the country is about to open a new phase in its history as there will be retaliation for this terrorist act. The country will fall into a deeper turmoil with ease and it will be a long and difficult recovery.
Syria – The Syrian air force has been accused of killing 76 people by unleashing barrels packed with explosives on Aleppo, a focal point for fighting between regime and rebel forces during the reporting period. Explosive-laden barrels were dropped on six rebel-controlled districts in the east, including Sakhur, Ard al-Hamra and Haydariyeh, "The barrels of explosives are not like bombs. Their impact is not accurate as they are dropped without any guidance system, and that is why they cause a large number of victims," said Abdel Rahman. The devices are made up of metal barrels that have a layer of concrete inside them "so that they cause as much destruction and death as possible." There are two types of barrel bombs, one of which is home-made, and the other of which is made in factories. A Syrian security official said the army prefers the TNT-packed barrels because they are cheaper than regular bombs, which need to be imported from Russia.
Yemen – Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula launched a complex suicide assault against a Security Department headquarters in the port city of Aden in south-western Yemen it was reported on the 31 Dec 13. Security forces repelled this latest AQAP suicide assault against security forces in Yemen's largest cities. The attack began as a suicide bomber drove a vehicle laden with explosives into the main entrance of the Security Department in Aden at 0200 hrs local time. The blast collapsed a building at the main gate and badly damaged nearby buildings. Then several vehicles filled with AQAP fighters attempted to breach the main gate but were repelled by security forces. The suicide assault, or coordinated attack using multiple suicide bombers and an assault team, is a tactic used by al Qaeda and its allies, including the Afghan Taliban, the Pakistani Taliban, and the Lashkar-e-Taiba. Suicide assaults are commonly executed in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Somalia.