Eight Killed, 15 Wounded in Syrian Shelling on Arsal
A number of people were killed and wounded on Friday in shelling from the Syrian side of the border against the Bekaa border town of Arsal.
The National News Agency reported that seven people were killed and 15 wounded in the attack.
Five of the victims have been identified as children from the al-Hujairi family, whose ages range from 2 to 11-years-old, added NNA.
Another victim has been identified as Hassan Ezzeddine.
Voice of Lebanon radio (93.3) later said that the death toll from the shelling had risen to eight after a young women died from injuries she had sustained.
The town's municipality chief later told VDL (100.5) that four houses received direct hits in the shelling.
Several rockets fired from the Lebanese-Syrian border area struck a number of other regions in the Bekaa region on Friday, reported NNA earlier.
Rockets landed in the area between al-Qaa's barren mountains and Ras Baalbek near the border with Syria.
Al-Jadeed television said that the mortar shells landed near an army position in the area.
Other shells hit Sahl al-Ain in north of Bekaa and Bouwaida.
The areas of al-Labwe, Zaboud and the outskirts of Hermel were also hit by four rockets.
Earlier the news agency said that two rockets hit the villages of al-Qasr and al-Kwakh, which are located in northeast Lebanon's Hermel district.
The Army Command later confirmed the shelling in the various regions, adding that a total of 20 rockets and mortar shells were fired from Syria.
President Michel Suleiman later condemned the shelling, demanding that the army and military officials take the necessary measures to protect border towns and villages.
“Protecting Lebanese regions and people against any assault is a priority,” he added.
Moreover, the president warned against the “dangers of getting involved in the Syrian crisis as the Lebanese people are paying a hefty price for it.”
He also offered his condolences to the families of the victims of Friday's attacks.
Caretaker Premier Najib Miqati later condemned the Arsal shelling, saying that he had requested that the army take the necessary measures to protect Lebanese territories.
In addition, Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam condemned the attack in a telephone conversation with caretaker Minister Marwan Charbel.
Meanwhile, head of al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc MP Fouad Saniora held phone talks over the deadly shelling with Suleiman, Miqati, Army chief Gen. Jean Qahwaji and Arsal municipal chief Ali al-Hujairi.
Saniora stressed "the importance of conducting a speedy and transparent probe into the circumstances of this criminal attack."
He noted that the bombardment proves that "demanding the withdrawal of Hizbullah from the fighting in Syria and the deployment of the army and UNIFIL on the eastern and northern Lebanese-Syrian border was based on substantial reasons.”
“The only serious solution is the deployment of the Lebanese army, assisted by the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon, to control the border, curb violations, put an end to retaliatory attacks and identify those responsible,” Saniora said.
He added that that must happen simultaneously with “the pullout of Hizbullah and its militias from the Syrian conflict, because its continued participation in the fighting between the regime and the Syrian people will lead to inflicting further tragedies and problems on Lebanon and the Lebanese.”
Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat warned that Lebanon could witness more terrorist activities as he mourned the victims of Arsal.
"The resilient and proud city of Arsal that has given many sacrifices is paying the price once again,” Jumblat said.
"And today, again, several people were killed or wounded. These victims are innocent of whatever is happening.”
Hermel comes under frequent shelling from the Syrian side of the border.
On Thursday, a group calling itself Al-Nusra Front in Lebanon said it was responsible for the deadly bombing that targeted Hermel, a bastion of Hizbullah.
The Bekaa town of Arsal and other areas in the Bekaa have also been targeted by rockets fired from Syria in recent months and most attacks were claimed by Syrian rebels.