Defiance in Hermel

A day after the car bombing that killed four people in Hermel, Al Manar TV reported live from a candlelight vigil near the scene of the blast. As the reporter appeared on camera the crowd behind him was chanting for praise for Hezbollah with the intermittent line: “America is the enemy of God”

The reporter then began to interview women and mothers. As in past car bombs targeting neighborhoods where Hezbollah is popular, the residents were defiant, saying the attack only strengthened their faith in the party.

“Let’s not waste time talking about the terrorists,” the woman below said, framed by a picture of Hezbollah leader Sayed Hassan Nasrallah. “Let’s give all our strength to Sayed Hassan and fight these terrorists.”

The sentiments tonight were very similar to previous attacks, when victims have pledged alliance to Hezbollah even in hospital beds and Hezbollah flags have been hoisted moments after blasts in buildings with blown out windows:

Resident of building next to blast site hangs out Hezbollah flag #Beirut pic.twitter.com/yrOzsWPzw2
— Habib Battah (@habib_b) January 2, 2014

Meanwhile, the Lebanese army has arrested (I thought police were supposed to do that) 13 suspects including a 24-year-old cleric and charged them with setting up previous bomb attacks. But so far the army has yet to release any evidence beyond a confession, according to early reports.

No hard evidence has emerged to link yesterday’s blast with the previous attacks, and its unclear why the US is being blamed. But as shown by the emotions at the crime scene, few will wait for investigations. As I have noted before, the dots are becoming too easy to connect in Lebanon while the need to present evidence is becoming increasingly irrelevant.