Lebanon's Nabatiyeh rocked by overnight explosion

A generator fire spread to old munitions left over from the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah

Hezbollah flags flutter along an empty street, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at the entrance of Mays Al-Jabal village, Lebanon March 26, 2020. REUTERS/Aziz Taher

An explosion in south Lebanon early on Thursday was caused by a fire that spread to a cache of old munitions, authorities said.

The night-time blast between the south of Lebanon towns of Houmine Al Fawqa and Roumin in the Nabatiyeh district did not cause any casualties.

Videos shared on social media showed flames and smoke over the site of the blast.

The state-run National News Agency said that an electricity generator caught fire and spread to a fuel tank of a house on the Izza River in Wadi Houmeen.

With the state offering very little electricity because of the country's economic crisis, communities and houses are running private generators around the clock — when fuel is not scarce. This has led to several generator fires and accidents in recent months.

The NNA said the fire then blew up cluster munitions and other unexploded ordnance left over from the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war.

In the final days of the month-long conflict, Israel dropped more than 4 million cluster munitions on south Lebanon, many of which did not explode. Mine clearance groups continue to operate in the area, clearing dangerous ordnance. Injuries and casualties from old mines and cluster bombs are not uncommon even more than 15 years after the war ended.

In 2020 alone, UN peacekeepers cleared 14,541 square metres of land and discovered and destroyed 1,348 anti-personnel mines.

Since 2006, Unifil deminers have cleared nearly 5 million square metres of land in south Lebanon and destroyed more than 43,500 mines, bombs and unexploded ordinances.

The damage from Thursday's blast appeared to be limited to the building where the explosion took place, with some windows of neighbouring houses shattering, witnesses told Turkey's Anadolu Agency.

Updated: January 13th 2022, 1:41 PM