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Blast rocks Hezbollah arms depot in southern Lebanon amid Israeli overflights

Source: Annahar
Georgi Azar
Photo of the reported blast circulating on Twitter.
Photo of the reported blast circulating on Twitter.
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BEIRUT: A major explosion rocked Tuesday the village of Ain Qana in southern Lebanon, prompting Hezbollah operatives to cordone off the blast site, sources told Annahar.

The blast coincided with intensive overflights of Israeli warplanes and UAVs, which had not left the airspace of the Hezbollah strongholds of Nabatiyeh and Iqlim al-Tuffah since the early hours of the morning, according to the National News Agency. 

The cause of the blast was not immediately clear as residents scrambled to evacuate the area, according to eyewitness reports. Reporters were barred from getting close to the scene as members of the group were quickly stationed in its vicinity. 

Reuters, quoting a security official, said the blast occurred at a house belonging to the Iranian-backed militant group. The house, AP reported, was being used as an arms depot for Hezbollah. 

Thick grey smoke ballooned over the town, located above the port city of Sidon.

This is the second major blast to rock Lebanon is as many months, after the Beirut port explosion that killed almost 200 people and injured thousands on August 4. 

Lebanon has been without a fully functioning government since the immediate aftermath of the Beirut port blast with both the Shiite duo of Hezbollah and Amal Movement hampering its formation. 

Despite the precarious position Lebanon finds itself in, which calls for the formation of an independent Cabinet capable of implementing hard hitting reforms, both groups are insisting on holding on to the Finance Ministry portfolio in any new government and on naming the Shiite ministers. 

On Monday, President Michel Aoun warned that Lebanon was “headed for hell” if a solution to the crisis isn’t reached. 

Asked by a reporter where Lebanon is headed if no government is formed soon, Aoun replied: “To hell, of course. Why else would I be standing here speaking if this wasn’t the case?”

No breakthrough has been reached, sources familiar with the negotiations told Annahar, with Aoun yet to speak with Prime Minister-designate Mustapha Adib following his latest remarks.  

Adib, who came to power after being nominated by Hezbollah, Amal, Aoun’ Free Patriotic Movement, and the majority of the Sunni MPs, has been attempting to form a government without consulting with the parliamentary blocs, the president said. 

The political deadlock has crippled French President Emmanuel Macron’s initiative to put in place a miniature government made of independent specialists. 

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