First Published: 2013-01-18

 

Lebanon gunmen fire at pro-Syria minister's convoy

 

Armed men wound four of Youth and Sports Minister’s bodyguards while on their way to join Friday prayers in Tripoli.

 

Middle East Online

Lebanon remains divided into pro- and anti-Assad camps

TRIPOLI, Lebanon - Armed men opened fire on Friday in the north Lebanese city of Tripoli on the convoy of a pro-Damascus minister, wounding some of his bodyguards, a security official said.

Four of Youth and Sports Minister Faisal Karameh's bodyguards were hit, said the official, who added that the gunmen were on their way to a sit-in organised by Lebanese Islamists bitterly opposed to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in neighbouring Syria.

A fifth man, a passer-by, was also wounded, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The shooting came "while the minister was on his way in his convoy to join Friday prayers in a mosque in the city," added the official.

An AFP correspondent said one of the minister's vehicles went up in flames after the attack.

"I don't think I was personally targeted," Karameh told a Lebanese television channel shortly afterwards, adding that his attackers "did not know I would be passing."

But he said the attack "threatens Tripoli's stability and security."

Dominated until 2005 militarily and politically for 30 years by Damascus, Lebanon remains divided into pro- and anti-Assad camps.

Frequent sectarian clashes in Tripoli have pitted Sunni Muslims against members of Assad's minority Alawite group, who fear vengeance attacks should the regime in Damascus fall.

Gunmen have also frequently exchanged fire with regime troops across Lebanon's northern and eastern borders with Syria.

Tripoli's Islamists protested on Friday calling for the release of dozens of detainees held without charge since violence wracked the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in 2007, when the army waged an all-out campaign to uproot Islamist militants.

"The attack on Minister Karameh's convoy... is an attempt to sow strife in the city," Prime Minister Najib Mikati said in a statement.

The army said in a statement it has "reinforced security measures, and started to seek out and arrest gunmen so they can be referred to the competent judicial authorities."

 

US says Iran supplied ballistic missile to Yemen rebels

UN 'appalled' at mass execution of jihadists in Iraq

Palestinians killed in continuing protests over Jerusalem occupation

Over half Syrian refugees in Lebanon live in 'extreme poverty'

Palestinian activist killed in Gaza protests

Foreign fighters a worry as IS struggles to survive

Bourita: Extraordinary meeting between ECOWAS, Morocco to be held beginning of 2018

Saudi-led air strikes, clashes as Yemen forces battle rebels

Sahel force funding shows terrorism fight is Saudi 'priority'

Iraq's Sistani says Hashed should be under government control

Middle-class Egypt adapts as costs soar

Somalia's budget meets IMF terms

Israel PM questioned in graft probe

Lebanon approves bid for oil, gas exploration

US to present 'irrefutable evidence' of Iran violations

Istanbul 'to remove Gulen links' from street names

Iraq hangs 38 jihadists

Pence to visit Middle East despite controversy

Hamas chief calls for continued Jerusalem protests

EU to repatriate 15,000 migrants from Libya in two months

Syria Kurds fear US ally will desert them after IS defeat

Israeli drugmaker Teva to cut 14,000 jobs over two years

Turkey rescues 51 migrants stranded on rocks

Saudi, UAE hold talks with Yemen Islamists

18 killed after bomber strikes Mogadishu police academy

Israeli air strikes target Hamas military facilities

US-led air strikes kill 23 civilians in Syria

Israel union calls nationwide strike over pharmaceutical giant job cuts

UN envoy urges Putin to press Assad for elections

Yemen's Huthi rebels release pro-Saleh media staff

Israel intelligence minister invites Saudi prince to visit

Saudi-led strikes kill 30 in rebel-run Yemen prison

Saudi king says Palestinians have 'right' to Jerusalem

Erdogan urges world to recognise Jerusalem as Palestinian capital

Saudi King says determined to confront corruption

South Sudan needs $1.7 billion humanitarian aid in 2018

UAE oil giant floats 10 percent of retail arm to strong interest

US skeptical about Putin's declaration of military victory in Syria

Growing concern about rise of far-right in Austria

Saudi, UAE seeks to help West Africa fight terrorism

Somali journalist dies after Mogadishu bombing

Israeli sentenced to four years for arson attack on church

Erdogan risks sabotaging fragile relations with Israel

6.2-magnitude earthquake strikes Iran

Two Gazans killed by Israeli ‘strike’, Israel denies claim