December 26, 2009: Car bombing in Beirut

On this day in December 2009 a car bomb believed to have been set by Hizballah killed two members of Hamas in Beirut.

BEIRUT, LEBANON – If an area controlled by terrorist group A is the scene of a car bomb which kills a member of terrorist group B, is this terrorism squared?

My oh my how Lebanon has changed over the decades. The former French colony was once the playground of the rich and famous and seen as one of the more ‘stable’ parts of the Middle East (I know that ‘stable Middle East’ does come across as an oxymoron). In fact, the capital of Beirut was nicknamed after WWII the “Paris of the Middle East“.

Not any more. Through a combination of terrible governance, sectarian feuds, troublesome neighbours and other ills Lebanon is now a mess. A massive explosion in August of this year, in which at least 200 were killed and 5,000 wounded, only made things worse.

Compounding this turmoil is the intractable presence of two main terrorist groups (there have always been others in Lebanon). The main one, Hizballah, is almost a state within a state and even has members of parliament. The other, Hamas, IS a state – in Palestine’s Gaza Strip – but has offices in Beirut. While the two organisations both hate Israel and are sponsored in part by Iran, they are also rivals.

Sometimes that rivalry turns violent.

On this day in 2009

Three people were killed in a mysterious blast in Hezbollah’s stronghold in southern Beirut, including two members of Hamas. Lebanese President Michel Sleiman denounced the blast, blaming it on the “enemies” of Lebanon.

This is a subversive act through which the enemies of the nation want to destabilise the country

President Sleiman

Hizballah did not own up to the attack however, despite the fact that where it occurred was definitely within its ambit. I suppose it had its reasons for being coy. After all, there is no honour among thieves – or terrorists.

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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