A suicide car bomber killed three people in a Hezbollah stronghold on Lebanon’s northern border with Syria on Thursday, the latest sign of the Syrian civil war’s creeping impact on its small Mediterranean neighbor.

The blast came as a court at The Hague began hearings on the 2005 killing of Lebanese statesman Rafik al-Hariri. The trial in absentia of four Hezbollah members, once billed as demonstrating a new start for Lebanon under the rule of law, has been overshadowed by violence spilling over from Syria.

The car bomb went off near a local government building in the centre of Hermel, at the northern end of the Bekaa Valley, an area populated mainly by Shi’ite Muslims from whom Hezbollah draws its support. The explosion shattered windows and damaged nearby buildings, witnesses said.