Officials Condemn Attack on Karami's Convoy as Charbel Calls for State of Political Emergency in Tripoliإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
The Central Security Council convened at the Serail of the northern city of Tripoli on Friday after the attack on Youth and Sports Minister Faisal Karami's convoy.
A statement issued by the Prime Minister's office said Najib Miqati asked Interior Minister Marwan Charbel to chair the “emergency meeting to take the appropriate measures.”
Miqati condemned the attack which he said was aimed at “targeting the security and stability of Tripoli and was an attempt to ignite strife in the city.”
He gave instructions to Charbel to follow up the investigation into the incident and punish the perpetrators.
The statement said that Miqati also telephoned Karami to express his solidarity with him and discuss the details of the attack.
It quoted the prime minister as saying that “efforts should be exerted to steer Tripoli away from any move that impacts its security and stability.”
For his part, Charbel said after the Central Security Council meeting: “Today's incident is very dangerous, whether it was deliberate or not.”
“Minister Karami miraculously survived the attack,” he added.
He demanded that the government and all political leaderships end their protection of gunmen in Tripoli and that the city become arms-free.
“The city should become arms-free and an example for the whole of Lebanon,” remarked Charbel.
“This issue is greater than the army and the state,” he declared.
The interior minister therefore demanded that a state of political emergency be announced in Tripoli and that parliament convene as soon as possible to tackle the situation in the city.
“Political agreement, such as one over a parliamentary electoral law, will help ease the tensions in Tripoli,” he noted.
He revealed that a gunman had pointed his weapon at Minister Karami and if it weren't for the intervention of one of his bodyguards, the minister would have been killed.
Miqati and Charbel later visited former Premier Omar Karami's residence in Tripoli to inquire about the safety of his son, Faisal.
Charbel later stated before reporters: “Today's incident is the product of the spread of arms in Lebanon and the state's shortcomings in controlling this phenomenon.”
“The residents of Tripoli are peaceful people and they have been the victims of the possession of arms. Should the flawed situation continue forever?” he wondered.
“Minister Karami stated that he was not the target of today's attack and the judiciary is serious in pursuing and apprehending the gunmen involved in today's attack,” he stressed.
President Michel Suleiman and Speaker Nabih Berri also telephoned Minister Karami who briefed them about the circumstances of the attack.
Finance Minister Mohammed al-Safadi, who also hails from Tripoli, called Karami to “reject any form of abuse of the cause of Islamists.”
The attack on the convoy took place when armed protesters demanding the release of Islamist prisoners opened fire, completely destroying one vehicle and leaving five of his bodyguards injured.
Al-Mustaqbal bloc leader Fouad Saniora also contacted ex-PM Karami to inquire about his son Faisal, while Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn visited the former prime minister at his house in Tripoli.
Former Premier Saad Hariri later contacted Minister Karami to condemn the attack, saying it is a “low attempt to lure Tripoli to instability once again.”
He hoped that the residents and authorities of the city would cooperate with the security and judicial agencies in order to confront and put an end to these incidents “once and for all.”
Hizbullah later strongly condemned the attack against Minister Karami's convoy, saying: “These incidents jeopardize civil peace and Tripoli's stability and fuel disputes between its residents.”
Among the officials who made phone calls to Karami the elder and the minister were Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani, Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun, and Phalange Party chief Amin Gemayel.