, BEIRUT, May 26 – Two rockets slammed into the Hezbollah heartland of south Beirut on Sunday as fighters from the Lebanese Shiite group battled alongside regime forces against rebels in a key town in neighbouring Syria.
The early morning attack came as Syria’s fractured opposition began an unscheduled fourth day of meetings on a peace conference proposal and after Hezbollah pledged “victory” in Syria over the rebels.
Its chief Hassan Nasrallah said it was in the militant anti-Israel group’s own interest to defend President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
“I say to all the honourable people, to the mujahedeen, to the heroes: I have always promised you a victory and now I pledge to you a new one” in Syria, he said in a speech for the 13th anniversary of Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon.
Hours after he spoke, two Grad rockets hit the Al-Shayyah area of south Beirut, wounding four Syrian workers at a car dealership and badly damaging an apartment.
It was the first time the Lebanese capital’s Shiite southern suburbs have been targeted during the more than two-year-old conflict in Syria.
A security source said the four wounded in the showroom were all Syrian workers. An AFP photographer said the second rocket damaged an apartment block.
“This is an act of sabotage,” Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said at the scene, adding: “We cannot at this stage accuse anyone” of being behind the attack.
“We hope that what is happening in Syria will not spill over into Lebanon,” he told journalists.
The security source said the rockets were fired from Aitat in the Mount Lebanon area some 13 kilometres (8 miles) southeast of where they hit.
An army statement said that troops found two abandoned rocket launchers at Aitat.