Two Versions of Arsal's Friday Incidence 'under Investigation'

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LBCI television reported on Thursday two different versions of Friday's incident in the Bekaa town of Arsal that resulted in the death of Major Pierre Bashaalani and Adjutant Ibrahim Zahraman, revealing that both stories are “under investigation by concerned authorities”.

According to the town's residents, three civil vehicles fired shotguns at Khaled Hmayyed, a suspect wanted on terrorism charges, near his house in Arsal while he was on his way to perform Friday's prayers.

"Hmayyed's body was seized by the shooters and they took off to a deserted location,” the residents told LBCI.

They added: “An exchange of gunfire occurred when people from Arsal followed the cars to retrieve his body and were faced with an army patrol”.

Meanwhile, the army explained that the patrol wanted to avoid a confrontation with Arsal residents while arresting Hmayyed, explaining why it headed to a nearby location, LBCI reported.

"Both versions of the incident are being investigated by concerned authorities,” LBCI said.

The television channel revealed that two arrest warrants were issued by Military examining magistrate Judge Fadi Sawan against Hmayyed, renouncing claims by Arsal residents who denied the existence of such judicial writs.

It explained: “The first one was issued in November 2011 and it accused him with an attempted murder”.

The second one, however, was issued in 2012 for his alleged affiliation with a terrorist organization.

Ahmed al-Hojeiri, a suspect in Friday's incident, was arrested on Thursday according to LBCI.

“He was caught disguised as a shepherd,” it remarked.

The army has sealed off all the entrances to Arsal and brought in reinforcements as part of measures aimed at arresting members of an armed group that targeted the patrol and killed Bashaalani and Zahraman.

The army also erected checkpoints at the entrances of the town to check the identities of passers-by.

Comments 17
Thumb LEBhasNOhope 07 February 2013, 22:07

Wow. Talk about stories on opposite sides of the spectrum. What a cluster F this is. Either way nothing justifies the killing of our soldiers. Murderers should be convicted and the idiots that are responsible for putting these soldiers' lives in danger should get manslaughter!

Missing 07 February 2013, 23:37

That is why a judicial independent investigation is necessary. It is easy to say that "nothing justifies the killing of our soldiers" but cluster F do happen and it seems to have been the case of lousy planning, lousy execution, decades of neglect to a town, people in town viewing that they are under threat ... I guess one can either handle this rationally or level the town and risk a civil war. People who are found guilty should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. However, we should insist about the primacy of law.

Thumb LEBhasNOhope 08 February 2013, 00:21

rafeh and tex. None of this makes any sense. Why send the undercover unit in without major backup into such hostile territory? You shoot first ask questions later but you also take the body with you and the town residents chase you but your reinforcements can't handle them? You didn't anticipate getting chased? none of this makes any sense at all! Sorry guys. Someone screwed up royally and it cost two soldiers their life.

Thumb LEBhasNOhope 08 February 2013, 00:27

Tex- if what you say is true then the town mayor played a hand in this and is responsible as well.
Rafehh- I do agree with you that leveling the town is not the answer. As a matter of fact it's never the answer. I also am with you on the neglect aspect of it. That is what happens to any town that gets neglected by governments. Militias and gangsters tend to take over.

Missing 08 February 2013, 00:28

anonymetexasusa - In Lebanon, there are many armed actors outside state control. This is making areas that feel targeted arm themselves. The solution is simple: disarm all non-state actors. The problem is when one side is armed to the hilt, the other sides will not accept this. The only areas that are truly controlled by the state and where armed non-state actors are not allowed are those in the mainly christian heartland in Lebanon.

Missing 08 February 2013, 00:34

anonymetexasusa - In addition, what did the Lebanese army do to protect Beirut and the Jabal from the Hizb and company in 2007? Granted, they were not able to do anything as it is likely the army would have collapsed and the Hizb is stronger than the army. In addition, why arrest people supporting the Syrian revolution while the Hizb is involved up to its knees in support of the regime? So let us not kid ourself here. All of us wants to live in a democratic country with security. But this will not happen when one side retains its arms and is willing to use force to impose its views.

Missing 08 February 2013, 00:47

anonymetexasusa - Neither of us were there. There are conflicting versions and that is why an independent judicial investigation is necessary. All what we are hearing are versions that are propagated by parties that have interest in presenting its views. We can go around and around but that does not change things: there are different versions and there is a need to determine what happened.

Thumb LEBhasNOhope 08 February 2013, 00:51

Tex- there are so many versions of this story on all the websites I'm all mixed up so forgive me if cross them up. But if what you say is true, how do you explain the pictures above, surely his leg is not going to be anywhere near the windshield. Also, if he was shot in the leg where did the rest of the bullets come from that killed him? ( I guess the truck could have been used in the chase and returned there). We really need an independent reliable investigation.

Missing mohammad_ca 08 February 2013, 18:35

FT, can the army go to Dahye to arrest people. Also, undercover is fine, but for the "army" "intelligence" aka hizbocrap thugs to beat up and curse the religion of a local Imam is completely unacceptable and will inevitably cause a backlash.

Thumb geha 08 February 2013, 06:29

it is simple:
hizbushaitan dragged the army into this.
some Arsal people did very wrong things and they should be judged for them, but the army showed poor command.
anyway, the army should show us that it really cares for Lebanon by arresting hizbushaitan thugs as in the case of Harb, Bulgaria, and Hariri for a start.
the army and so many people say there should not be closed regions in Lebanon, then prove it and let us see the army arresting them.

Missing 07 February 2013, 23:40

Karim - grow up! Even in US and Canada, police have been accused and been found of abuses and extra-judicial kilings. That is why there is always a process to investigate whenever someone is killed by police and this is done by an INDEPENDENT body.

Thumb LEBhasNOhope 08 February 2013, 00:31

The respect you have for human life just oozes out of your words. Did you ever stop and think for one second that there might be decent people living there that never had the opportunity to leave? That town militias can hold the rest of the people hostage with fear? When are we ever going to value human life?

Thumb LEBhasNOhope 08 February 2013, 08:11

Typical idiotic flamer response. Has nothing to do with the content of the post so you resort to personal attack against me. You must be related to auon.

Thumb LEBhasNOhope 08 February 2013, 08:21

Btw- here is my post from 2 days ago about someone claiming that all Shia should be eliminated. Naharnet removed the post because it was offensive (deservedly so) but my post still remains. What do you have to say now genius?
Don't you feel stupid?

Missing allouchi 08 February 2013, 14:36

Remember how many Crhistians and Lebanese your Assad and his father killed you idiot...

Missing peace 08 February 2013, 14:45

this arsal event is all a propaganda organised by hezbis. the proof?

the demonstrations in favor of the army by hezbis whereas not so long ago they refused its presence in the south and in dahiye...

arsal is a sunni village between alawites in syria and shia in bekaa so it s a thorn in the hezbi alawite project...

hezbis are leading investigations before handling suspects to the army...

Missing greatpierro 08 February 2013, 19:09

Pity out army that has to go through such missions while terrorist and armed people are free to roam. Can our government take a firm stance on disarming people? Difficult when pro Syrian militias and hizbullah are untouchables.