4 Dead, Including 2 from Jaafar Clan, as Car Comes under Fire in Arsal Outskirtsإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Four people were killed, including two members of the Jaafar clan, when their car came under gunfire in Arsal's barren mountains, state-run National News Agency reported.
The unidentified assailants shot dead "two members of the Jaafar family, an Amhaz family member and a Turk" in an ambush while they were smuggling fuel through the Qaa area, a security source told Agence France Presse, asking not to be named.
He had initially identified the victims as four Lebanese and said a fifth man was seriously wounded.
The incident occurred in an agricultural part of Qaa, home to a predominantly Sunni population.
Tensions were running high in the wake of the incident, the source said, with armed members of the Jaafar family gathering around five kilometers from the town of Arsal.
The National News Agency said the four were shot dead while inside a Cherokee vehicle in the Rafeq valley in the barren mountains of the town of Ras Baalbek, identifying them as Ali Karami Jaafar, Mohammed Ali Ahmed Jaafar, Hussein Sharif Amhaz and Ali Haidar, “a Turkish national whose mother is from the Lebanese family of Seifeddine and who is a resident of the town of al-Nabi Othman.”
Voice of Lebanon radio (93.3) said gunfire erupted in the Bekaa town of al-Labweh “as a response to the crime committed against one of the town's residents in the region's barren mountains.”
For its part, Voice of Lebanon radio (100.5) said the security situation deteriorated around the town of Arsal after four members of the Jaafar clan were killed in “an ambush by a group of Arsal residents.”
“Army units went on full alert at all military bases and checkpoints in the Bekaa as a precaution against any repercussions from the ambush against the Jaafar family,” the radio station said.
“The intersections of the town of al-Labweh have been closed,” al-Jadeed television reported.
LBCI television said the four were killed in “Wadi Rafeq, a border area between al-Qaa's barren mountains and Ras Baalbek.”
“As the Lebanese army went through Arsal's barren mountains to recover the bodies, it was surprised with the presence of around 200 gunmen in the area, which prompted it to withdraw for a while and call in reinforcements,” MTV reported.
But al-Jadeed said later that “the two slain members of the Jaafar clan were transported to the town of al-Qasr while the slain member of the Amhaz clan was transported to al-Batoul Hospital in the Bekaa ahead of being transferred to the family home.”
"A checkpoint erected by the Amhaz clan seized a number of Arsal residents and the army is trying to remove the checkpoints," OTV said.
A statement issued later by Arsal's residents said "the Wadi Rafeq incident is aimed at stirring discord between the residents of Arsal and the region and at inciting sectarian strife."
“We strongly condemn attacks on civilians, regardless of their identities, especially on the clans and people of our region,” the statement said.
“As we condemn the massacre, we urge security forces to unveil the perpetrators as quick as possible and to bring them to justice, and we disavow the perpetrators, regardless of their identities,”
The residents vowed that they will provide security forces with any information they obtain concerning the identities of the perpetrators.
According to information obtained by OTV, the ambush “might be linked to the ambush that killed (Arsal resident) Ali al-Hujairi in Hermel.”
“Ali Ahmed al-Hujairi was killed in an ambush by Hizbullah supporters in the barren mountains of (the town of) Beit Jaafar between Akkar and Hermel,” Arsal municipality's deputy chief told MTV on Tuesday.
The state-run National News Agency said unknown attackers shot dead Hujairi as he was driving his pickup truck that was loaded with rocks, accompanied by Syrian workers.
On Tuesday evening, NNA said a number of gunmen gathered in central Arsal in protest at the killing of Hujairi.
Sunni cleric Sheikh Mustafa al-Hujairi, Ali's brother, delivered a speech before the gunmen and called for "jihad and vengeance," NNA said.
The Syrian crisis has led to frequent security incidents in the areas of Arsal and Hermel near the border with the war-torn country.
Several Lebanese army troops were recently killed in an armed attack by Syrian gunmen on their checkpoint in Arsal's outskirts.