Al-Qaeda Groups Expand Into Lebanon

Warn Sunnis to Avoid 'Hezbollah Bases'

The two largest al-Qaeda groups in Syria, al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and Jabhat al-Nusra, have both issued statements today announcing that they have established a formal presence in neighboring Lebanon, and view attacks on ‘Hezbollah strongholds’ as legitimate.

The announcements seem a bit late in coming, as Jabhat al-Nusra’s Lebanon auxiliary has already claimed credit for several major bombings against Shi’ite neighborhoods in the past few weeks.

Nusra’s statement went on to caution Lebanon’s Sunni civilians to avoid “approaching or residing in or near Hezbollah’s bases.” The group’s attacks have mostly just targeted Shi’ite neighborhoods in general, on the theory that they must be Hezbollah’s strongholds.

The sectarian civil war in Syria has fueled tensions in Lebanon, though key Sunni politician Saad Hariri denounced the al-Qaeda groups, saying Lebanon doesn’t want any part of the sectarian war.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.