Hezbollah brings Iranian fuel into Lebanon

With Lebanon in the midst of an energy crisis, the militant group Hezbollah brought Iranian fuel into the country via Syria on Thursday.

The trucks sounded their horns as they entered the northeastern village of al-Ain.

The shipment risks stirring the wrath of the U.S. which has imposed sanctions on Iran.

But that was of little concern to these onlookers, who waved Hezbollah's flag and threw petals at the vehicles.

One local businessman said he hoped more would come:

"This convoy to break the siege and monopoly, this is the first convoy and hopefully another will follow, and the situation will improve and will ease the situation on poor because of the low prices."

Washington has reiterated that U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil sales remain in place.

But it has not said whether it is considering taking any action over the move by Hezbollah, which it designates a terrorist group..

The action marks an expansion of Hezbollah's role in Lebanon, where critics have long accused the heavily armed group of acting as a state within the state.

Lebanon's government said its permission was not sought to import the fuel.

Politics aside, the situation in Lebanon is desperate.

An economic crisis has seen the currency sink about 90% over the past two years pushing more than three quarters of the population into poverty.

Fuel supplies have dried up because Lebanon does not have enough hard currency to cover even vital imports.

Essential services, including some hospitals, have been forced to scale back or shut down.

Hezbollah has said it will donate some of the oil to institutions in need including government hospitals and orphanages.

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