Hariri Warns against Confrontation with Army: Hizbullah Sin Mustn't be Excuse to Target Armyإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri warned on Sunday against any attempt to drag the southern city of Sidon into a “confrontation with the state,” holding Hizbullah responsible for “provoking the city’s residents.”
“We warn against attempts to drag Sidon into a confrontation with the state and the army ,” Hariri said in a statement he released commenting on the latest clashes between the military institution and supporters of Salafist cleric Sheikh Ahmed al-Asir.
He added: “We also demand adopting all necessary measures required to stop the ambulant discord threatening Lebanon.”
Hariri held Hizbullah responsible for Sidon’s clashes “through provoking the citizens in the city and spreading security outposts in the neighborhoods.”
“Hizbullah's sin should not be an excuse to break the law or to use weapons against the Army or any other legitimate security forces,” he noted.
“We urge the citizens not to be dragged into any negative reactions that would provide cover for the acts committed by Hizbullah and give those harmed by the extension of State authority the chance to achieve their political and security goals.”
Hariri considered that preserving stability and coexistence in the city is “the responsibility of all,” warning against jeopardizing them.
“We call for concerted efforts in order to protect stability and coexistence, which will only be achieved through the State and its institutions in particular through the army,” Hariri stressed.
He continued: “And we rely on the wisdom of the military institution’s command to take measures that protect the city and avoid falling into the traps of the instigators and the calls launched by those who hide behind Hizullah’s weapons awaiting opportunities -in the name of the defense of these arms- to undermine the prestige of the State and of all forces calling for an end to the policies of hegemony.”
Hariri expressed his deepest condolences to the families of the victims “who pay every day exorbitant prices due to the proliferation of illegal weapons and the rule of the logic of intimidating the state.”
“The army’s martyrs are the martyrs of the entire nation and their loss is a loss for every Lebanese who believes in the state and its institutions.”
Ten army troops were martyred and several 35 were wounded Sunday in a clash with supporters of al-Asir in the Sidon suburb of Abra, the Army Command said in a statement.
The fighting erupted when Asir supporters surrounded an army checkpoint in Abra, where a vehicle transporting other supporters of the cleric had been stopped, a security source told Agence France Presse.
LBCI television said the clash in Sidon allegedly erupted over the army's arrest of two individuals linked to the Bilal bin Rabah Mosque.