Jan. 16 - Car bomb explodes near local government building in the Lebanese town of Hermel killing at least four people and wounding several more. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) A suicide car bomber killed himself and three other people, and wounded 26 in a Hezbollah stronghold on Lebanon's northern border with Syria on Thursday. The car bomb went off near a local government building in the center of Hermel, a town at the northern end of Lebanon's Bekaa Valley in a predominantly Shi'ite Muslim area, shattering windows and damaging nearby buildings. A Reuters photographer said he saw body parts strewn across the street and people with shrapnel wounds in the area of the blast, outside a building that houses local government offices. Hospitals were calling on people to give blood, he said. Hezbollah-controlled areas in Lebanon have been targeted by a series of bombings and rocket attacks claimed by hardline Sunni militants. Four car bombs have exploded in Hezbollah's stronghold in southern Beirut since July. Violence from the civil war in Syria has spilled over into the Mediterranean country and Shi'ite group Hezbollah, Lebanon's most powerful military and political movement, has sent fighters and advisers to aid ally President Bashar al-Assad, a member of the Alawite minority, in his battle with mainly Sunni rebels. Thursday's attack occurred shortly before an international tribunal began a trial in absentia of four Hezbollah members accused of planning a car bombing that killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri in 2005. The trial in the Hague is highly contentious in Lebanon, but its political fallout has been overshadowed by the increasingly sectarian war in Syria over the past three years.