Mysterious Southern Lebanon Blast Investigated by UNIFIL

An explosion in southern Lebanon around 7 AM Monday morning raised questions about the presence of illegal Hezbollah weaponry in the region, although the United Nations peacekeeping force has withheld its opinion until an investigation can be completed. According to the UN resolution that concluded the 2006 Israel-Lebanon war, Hezbollah is prohibited from possessing weapons in the southern region of the country.

Andrea Tenenti, a spokesman for the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), told The Mideast Update in an interview that UNIFIL troops were able to access the location of the explosion and are working with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) on the incident.

“UNIFIL, in close coordination with the LAF, has launched an investigation to identify the precise nature and circumstances of the explosion,” said Tenenti. He later noted that “we must await the findings of the investigation before we can make any final assessment and conclusion.”

The Daily Star publication in Lebanon reported that a local mayor claimed the blast came from a rocket that had been launched into Lebanon in the 2006 war and was stored in a stockpile of similar leftover weapons.

However, blasts in Lebanon are nothing new and in the past have been attributed to Hezbollah weapons. Further adding to the speculation is that The Daily Star reported that security sources told them Hezbollah initially prevented UNIFIL and the LAF from reaching the site, a claim Tenenti appeared to dismiss.

Hezbollah is believed to have a stockpile of tens of thousands of rockets. At least in the past, reports have indicated that includes weaponry in southern Lebanon in violation of the UN resolution.

(By Joshua Spurlock,, December 18, 2012)