Huge explosion near Lebanon-Syria border

Explosion - Illustrative. (AP).

Some 10 people were injured after large explosions were reported at a gas storage warehouse in the town of Al-Qasr in northeastern Lebanon near the Lebanese-Syrian border on Sunday evening, according to Lebanese media.

Local reports indicated that the gas storage warehouse is used by smugglers. The Lebanese National News Agency reported that the warehouse belongs to the Obeid family and is located far away from a military checkpoint in the area. No casualties were reported among the Lebanese military.

It is unclear what caused the explosion.

The Lebanese Red Cross announced that it had sent three teams to the gas storage warehouse after the explosion and later updated that 10 people were injured in the explosion.

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The fire was extinguished later on Sunday evening.

The explosion occurred while Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah was speaking to mark the anniversary of the assassination of former IRGC Quds Force commander Qassam Soleimani.

During the speech, Nasrallah stated that Hezbollah was “the only one capable of protecting Lebanon’s oil wealth thanks to its weapons and Iranian and Syrian support.”
The Hezbollah leader added that “the region is in great tension and we do not know where any incident might lead.”

In a tweet earlier on Sunday, Lebanese President Michel Aoun wrote that “the Lebanese have no partner in preserving the independence of their homeland, its sovereignty over its borders, its land, and its freedom of decision.”

Intense flights of IDF aircraft were reported by Lebanese media over southern and central Lebanon throughout the afternoon and evening, including when the explosion occurred.

Hezbollah has been accused of smuggling goods and dollars from Lebanon into Syria and harming the Lebanese economy, as well as smuggling weapons from Syria into Lebanon.

According to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, the warehouse where the explosion took place on Sunday is owned by a person who is close with Hezbollah.

A Fars Air Qeshm flight landed in Damascus from Iran on Sunday morning and returned to Tehran on Sunday afternoon, according to civilian flight tracking sites. The airline is suspected of being used to smuggle weapons from Iran to Syria and Lebanon.

Last week, an alleged Israeli airstrike targeted the city of Al-Zabadani, killing one Syrian soldier and injuring three others, according to the Syrian state news agency SANA. Al-Zabadani is located on a major supply route for weapons sent through Syrian to Hezbollah.

A day before the strike, a Fars Air Qashm aircraft conducted a roundtrip flight between Tehran and Damascus.



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