BEIRUT, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- In less than 40 days, the southern suburbs of the Lebanese capital Beirut, known as the heartland of Hezbollah, were targeted twice by car bombings that left heavy casualties and material damage.
The bombings did not target any offices or leaders of Hezbollah, but were clearly intended to incur maximum material losses in the base of the Shiite militant party.
On July 9, 2013, a booby trapped car exploded in the Bir El Abd region and injured 53 people. Political observers believe that the bombing was the beginning of a phase of attacks against Hezbollah' s stronghold in southern Beirut.
On Thursday, another car exploded in Dahieh with much heavier casualties -- 24 dead and more than 336 others injured. The observers believe it was targeting the entire country and marked an alarming point for a very serious phase that could plunge Lebanon into serious sectarian strife.
A former Lebanese security official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity that Thursday's explosion did not intend to "assassinate any Hezbollah official, but to cause maximum damage and loss of lives among Hezbollah's supporters."
He believes that "the real target of the attack is to push Hezbollah to a more extremist policy ... and turn the Lebanese arena into a scene of a larger regional sectarian war."
The official alleged the attack is staged either by Israel "in the context of an open intelligence war between Hezbollah and the Jewish state," or by Syrian or other extremists "in retaliation for Hezbollah's participation in the Syrian war."
Also, "foreign powers who wish to inflame the situation in Lebanon could have resorted to this kind of bloody attacks," he said, referring to countries outside of the Middle East region.
He pointed out the Lebanese government has failed to protecting the people from "regional fire," mostly the Syrian conflict, citing the presence of 600,000 Palestinian refugees and around 1.6 million Syrian refugees in the country.
"The situation could get out of the hands of the politicians and Lebanon could be dragged into the tunnel of the sectarian strife," he warned.
For his part, political analyst and writer Georges Alam said that Lebanon is on a very dangerous slope toward becoming "an open scene for the settlement of the regional problems."
He expressed fears that his country may not be able "to sustain the repercussions of the regional conflicts due to the absence of a strong state," and that the current sectarian incitement may lead to "destabilization of the Lebanese entity."