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."

 

‘Intense awareness of interests’ but no ‘perfect agreement between Egypt and US

UAE prosecutor refers 41 people to trial on terrorism charges

'PKK suicide attack' kills two soldiers in eastern Turkey

Israel faces mounting pressure after baby killing in arson attack

Iraq TV comedian combats jihadists with laughs

Kerry to Middle East allies: Iran deal will make region safer

Egypt court again postpones verdict in retrial of Jazeera reporters

Al-Nusra Front releases video to show ‘capture’ of US-trained rebels

Egypt court postpones verdict on brother of Ayman al-Zawahiri

Immigration surpasses economy as major concern in Europe

Plane crash kills family members of Bin Laden

Iraq protesters vent anger over poor services

ISIS flexes muscles in eastern Libya

Syria army pushes back rebels near Latakia province

Arbil urges PKK to move out of Iraq Kurdistan

Yemen government returns to Aden with eyes set on Sanaa

Erdogan calls for early elections if no coalition

Palestinian baby killed in arson attack by Jewish settlers

Kurds in Diyarbakir fear return to war

State of emergency in Tunisia extended

Jerusalem Gay Pride attack suspect lashes out in court

'Kurdish Obama' faces his biggest test

Yemen blockade 'killing' as many civilians as war

EU urges Israel to show 'zero tolerance for settler violence'

Cash-strapped Tunisia's Syphax airline grounds flights

Pentagon denies US-trained rebels captured in Syria

Morocco king calls for development of remote regions

Host of US celebrities endorses Iran nuclear deal

PKK braces for fight with Turkey in Iraq mountain bastions

Kurdish party chief dismisses Turkey anti-IS raids

Thomas Cook warns Tunisia attacks affect annual results

Three Al-Jazeera journalists await Egypt retrial verdict

Kuwait uncovers new IS cell

One Turkish police killed in attack blamed on PKK

Israel approves law allowing force feeding of prisoners

New sexist gaffe of Turkish deputy PM: 'As a woman, be quiet!

UN envoy invites Syrians to ‘thematic’ talks

Egypt's gift to the world: Suez Canal Axis

Pentagon to worried lawmakers: We will remain vigilant on Iran

Hamas calls for revolt against Palestinian Authority

ISIS claims deadly car bomb in Yemen capital

Allies tolerate Turkey's double game to boost IS fight

Somalia ‘making progress’ despite insecurity and election delay

Germany, Iraqi Kurds say Turkey should resume peace process

Syria skeptical about Turkey's intentions in fight against ISIS