VIDEO - Lebanese security officials said Friday that several explosions caused a large fire in a southern village. Five people were injured in the incident, they said. Several hours later, the IDF Spokesperson's Office released footage taken from an unmanned aerial vehicle, showing smoke billowing over the area.
An army source said the blasts might have been triggered by an explosion at a weapons depot belonging to the Hezbollah
terror group in the village of Shehabiyeh.
|Video: IDF Spokesperson's Office|
"There was more than one explosion at a house on the outskirts of Shihabiya," he said. "Usually (multiple explosions) mean it is ammunition (detonating)," he said.
The al-Jazeera news channel reported that the explosions occurred at a weapons depot located in the three-storey home of a Hezbollah operative.
Lebanese army forces arrived at the scene and cordoned off the area.
In a statement issued Friday night, Hezbollah claimed no one was killed or injured in the blasts and that the Lebanese army was looking into the "circumstances of the fire." According to a Lebanese report, the explosion may have been caused by a generator which caught fire along with a fuel oil tank.
Israeli security sources noted that the incident proves once again that Hezbollah holds weapons in the heart of a civilian population and endangers southern Lebanon's residents.
IDF officials stressed that the Lebanese army prevented UNIFIL troops from examining the area, pointing to suspicions that the Lebanese army was cooperating with Hezbollah.
Shihabiya is about 15 km (10 miles) east of the coastal town of Tyre, near Lebanon's
southern border with Israel.
South Lebanon is a stronghold of Hezbollah, which fought a 34-day war with
Israel in 2006.
According to UN Resolution 1701, which ended the war, the area south of the Litani River is supposed to be free of weapons.
Last summer an explosion
rocked a Hezbollah arms depot in the village of Khirbet Silim, about 10 miles north of the border. Israel filed a complaint with the UN, saying storing arms south of the Litani River constituted a violation of Resolution 1701.
Hanan Greenberg, AP and Reuters contributed to the report