Lebanon
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Captive Troops' Families Threaten Escalation, Some Accuse Hizbullah of Hindering Negotiations

Families of Lebanese troops abducted by Syria-based militants on Sunday threatened to escalate their protests across Lebanon to press for the release of their loves ones, as some of them accused Hizbullah of obstructing negotiations between the Lebanese government and the kidnappers.

“We have been giving negotiations a chance but we haven't sensed any serious efforts,” families of captive troops said in Beirut's Martyrs Square, declaring an end to their “peaceful sit-in” and vowing to step up their moves.

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5 Dead, 5 Hurt in Traffic Accident on Jiyeh Highway

A major traffic accident left five people dead on Sunday on the Jiyeh coastal highway between Sidon and Beirut.

The collision involved a Kia SUV and a BMW, according to the National News Agency.

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Jumblat Calls for Protection of Refugees Amid Spike of Violence against them

Progressive Socialist Party chief MP Walid Jumblat called on Sunday for the protection of Syrian refugees against violence sparked by the killing of Lebanese soldiers kidnapped by jihadists.

During a visit to the West Bekaa town of Ain Ata, Jumblat urged the Lebanese army to carry out its responsibilities and protect Syrian refugees.

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Report: Army and Police Captives are Held in Caves

Jihadists are holding the captives from the Lebanese army and police in huge caves on the outskirts of the northeastern border town of Arsal, al-Mustaqbal newspaper reported on Sunday.

The daily said that the soldiers and members of the Internal Security Forces abducted by the Islamic State terrorist group are held in a cave in Wadi al-Rahwa while the ones taken captive by the al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front are present in Wadi Mira.

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2 Abducted al-Fleiti Family Members Released

Two members from al-Fleiti family, who were abducted in tit-for-tat kidnappings between Sunnis and Shiites, were released by their abductors on Saturday night, the state-run National News Agency reported.

The kidnappers failed however to release several others from al-Hujeiri family who were taken captive in the Bekaa Valley's North.

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Geagea Says Biggest Danger Lies in 'Constitutional Decay'

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea shrugged off the deterioration of the security situation in the country, saying the biggest danger facing Lebanon lies in the disintegration of state institutions.

The danger posed by jihadists and battles are so far limited, Geagea told the Kuwaiti al-Qabas newspaper in an interview published on Sunday.

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Berri Optimistic on End of Parliamentary Deadlock

Speaker Nabih Berri was on Sunday optimistic that the rival March 8 and 14 alliances would attend a legislative session to approve pending issues.

In remarks to An Nahar daily, Berri said: “There is a positive atmosphere.”

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Suicide Car Bomber Targets Hizbullah Checkpoint, 3 Killed

A suicide car bomber killed on Saturday night three people at a checkpoint manned by Hizbullah in the district of Baalbek that lies in eastern Lebanon, the state-run National News Agency reported.

However, a Hizbullah-run TV station reported later that the suicide bomber did not kill anyone at the checkpoint. There was no immediate way to reconcile the contradictory reports.

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Grand Serail Security Meeting: We Refuse Blackmail in Case of Abducted Soldiers

Prime Minister Tammam Salam chaired on Saturday a security meeting at the Grand Serail to address the security developments taking place in the northeastern town of Arsal.

Salam stressed after the talks: “The government stands united by the army in its open war against terrorists and it rejects blackmail in the case of abducted soldiers.”

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5 Members of Hujeiri, Fleiti Families Abducted near Arsal

Five people who hail from the Bekaa border town of Arsal were kidnapped on Saturday, after al-Nusra Front published the video of the execution of Lebanese soldier Mohammed Hamiyeh.

According to the National News Agency, the five are members of the al-Hujeiri and Fleiti families.

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