The Abdullah Azzam Brigades and the Al Nusrah Front in Lebanon have claimed joint responsibility for rocket attacks on Hezbollah’s “strongholds.” On March 8, both groups published the same statement claiming credit for the attacks on their respective Twitter feeds.
The six Grad rockets “targeted strongholds of the Party of Iran [Hezbollah] in the Lebanese area of Hermel … in response to the Party of Iran killing our people in Syria and continuing to oppress our people in Lebanon especially our brothers the prisoners,” the statement reads. The statement was first obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.
The war in Syria has led to a string of attacks against Iranian interests in Lebanon. Hezbollah is backed by the Iranian government and Bashar al Assad’s regime.
The Al Nusrah Front is al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria and has expanded its operations into Lebanon and throughout the Levant. The Abdullah Azzam Brigades was established by terrorists with ties to al Qaeda’s senior leadership, as well as al Qaeda in Iraq.
The two al Qaeda-affiliated groups have launched rocket attacks on Hezbollah positions in Hermel on three occasions since December 2013, according to SITE. Hermel is located close to the Syrian border in the Bekaa Valley, which is dominated by Hezbollah.
On Feb. 19, two suicide bombers from the Abdullah Azzam Brigades attacked the Iranian cultural center in Beirut, killing five people and wounding more than a dozen more. The group issued a statement on March 7 saying that an “error” during the bomb detonations led to the deaths of civilians. The statement showed a clear sensitivity to civilian casualties, stressing that the al Qaeda-linked group’s “war” is with Hezbollah and that “its interests … are legitimate targets.”