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From Riyadh to Beirut, fear of Syria blowback

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This picture taken on Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 shows the burned car of Hisham al-Mughayar, 45, the father of the suicide bomber Nidal al-Mughayar, which was torched as well as the family’s grocery shop and four vehicles by angry residents after the news spread in the village that Nidal was one of the two suicide attackers who carried out an attack in Beirut near the Iranian culture center, in the southern village of Bisariyeh, Lebanon. Nidal al-Mughayar renewed his travel document last year and told his family he will be leaving Lebanon to settle in Venezuela where there are more opportunities but it turned out later that the young Palestinian man called his family from Syria and it was only then that they knew he has joined jihadis fighting to overthrow President Bashar Assad’s government. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)

This picture taken on Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 shows the burned car of Hisham al-Mughayar, 45, the father of the suicide bomber Nidal al-Mughayar, which was torched as well as the family’s grocery shop and four vehicles by angry residents after the news spread in the village that Nidal was one of the two suicide attackers who carried out an attack in Beirut near the Iranian culture center, in the southern village of Bisariyeh, Lebanon. Nidal al-Mughayar renewed his travel document last year and told his family he will be leaving Lebanon to settle in Venezuela where there are more opportunities but it turned out later that the young Palestinian man called his family from Syria and it was only then that they knew he has joined jihadis fighting to overthrow President Bashar Assad’s government. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)

In this picture taken on Monday, Feb. 24, 2014, Nada Saleh Shintawi, the grandmother of suicide bomber Nidal al-Mughayar, speaks during an interview with The Associated Press at her home in the southern village of Bisariyeh, Lebanon. Nidal al-Mughayar renewed his travel document last year and told his family he will be leaving Lebanon to settle in Venezuela where there are more opportunities but it turned out later that the young Palestinian man called his family from Syria and it was only then that they knew he has joined jihadis fighting to overthrow President Bashar Assad’s government. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)

In this picture taken on Monday, Feb. 24, 2014, a Shiite man carrying his son on his shoulders passes in front of suicide bomber Nidal al-Mughayar’s family home in the southern village of Bisariyeh, Lebanon. Nidal al-Mughayar renewed his travel document last year and told his family he will be leaving Lebanon to settle in Venezuela where there are more opportunities but it turned out later that the young Palestinian man called his family from Syria and it was only then that they knew he has joined jihadis fighting to overthrow President Bashar Assad’s government. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)

This picture taken on Monday, Feb. 24, 2014, Hisham al-Mughayar, 45, the father of the suicide bomber Nidal al-Mughayar, walks in his burned house which was torched as well as the family’s grocery shop and four vehicles by angry residents after the news spread in the village that Nidal was one of the two suicide attackers who carried out an attack in Beirut near the Iranian culture center, in the southern village of Bisariyeh, Lebanon. Nidal al-Mughayar renewed his travel document last year and told his family he will be leaving Lebanon to settle in Venezuela where there are more opportunities but it turned out later that the young Palestinian man called his family from Syria and it was only then that they knew he has joined jihadis fighting to overthrow President Bashar Assad’s government. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)

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BISARIYEH, Lebanon (AP) — The once-tranquil, religiously mixed village of Bisariyeh is seething: Two of its young men who fought alongside the rebels in Syria recently returned home radicalized and staged suicide bombings in Lebanon.

The phenomenon is being watched anxiously across the Mideast, particularly in Saudi Arabia, where authorities are moving decisively to prevent citizens from going off to fight in Syria.

The developments illustrate how the Syrian war is sending dangerous ripples across a highly combustible region and sparking fears that jihadis will come home with dangerous ideas and turn their weapons against their own countries.

In Lebanon, where longstanding tensions between Sunnis and Shiites have been heightened by the conflict next door, the fear of blowback has very much turned into reality.

The social fabric of towns and villages across the country is being torn by conflicting loyalties and a wave of bombings carried out by Sunni extremists in retaliation for the Iranian Shiite group Hezbollah’s military support of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

In the past few months, at least five Sunni men have disappeared from Bisariyeh, an impoverished, predominantly Shiite village in south Lebanon, and are believed to have gone to fight in Syria.

Two of them — Nidal Mughayar and Adan al-Mohammad — returned and blew themselves up outside Iranian targets in Beirut on Feb. 19, killing eight people and wounding more than 100.

“He was a good man with a good heart, but it seems that people who have no conscience brainwashed him,” Hisham al-Mughayar said of his 20-year-old son.

As news spread in the village that Nidal was one of the bombers, angry Shiite residents marched to his parents’ home and set it on fire along with the family’s grocery and four vehicles.

“He destroyed himself and destroyed us with him,” said the father, as he took an Associated Press reporter on a tour of his torched, two-story house, much of its furniture reduced to ashes.

Concern about such radicalization has sent Mideast governments scrambling into action.

After years of often turning a blind eye to jihadists taking up arms abroad, Saudi Arabia is enacting new laws and backing a campaign to stop its citizens from joining Syria’s civil war. The intention is to send a clear message

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