Army Slams 'Fabricated' Videos of Gunmen, Vows to Resort to Judiciaryإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
The Army command criticized on Thursday “fabricated” videos of gunmen allegedly fighting alongside troops in the southern city Sidon, vowing to take judicial action.
“At a time that the Lebanese army was fighting a fierce battle against an armed group that was spreading sedition and meddling with the country's security... A cheap political and media campaign was targeting it,” a communique issued by the army said.
It noted that “fabricated” videos, audio tapes and pictures were released concerning the army in the town of Abra and gunmen fighting alongside the troops.
“The army command reminds that the intelligence bureau's members wear civilian cloths... Any moral or security violations by any soldier or army unit will be investigated and the appropriate measures will be taken,” the statement said.
The army command expressed regret that some local media outlets reached a level of deception that any technical expert could easily detect.
It described the matter as a “media scandal,” warning that it will not remain mum over it.
“We have the right to refer the matter to the competent judicial authority,” the statement said.
The Sidon clashes broke out when supporters of Salafist cleric Sheikh Ahmed al-Asir attacked the army.
Al-Asir, a 45-year-old cleric, supports the overwhelmingly Sunni rebels fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Several media outlets displayed videos showing gunmen with yellow armbands fighting alongside the army, indicating that Hizbullah took part in the battles.
However, Hizbullah denied the matter.
Meanwhile, Army chief Gen. Jean Qahwaji visited on Thursday Caretaker Premier Najib Miqati at the Grand Serail.
A statement issued from Miqati's press office said the two men discussed the army's investigation into the videos “that tarnish the image of the military institution.”
“The army should deal with all citizens equally,” Miqati said.
He also called for distancing the military institution from the political campaigns.
Syria's civil war has been bleeding into Lebanon for the past year, following similar sectarian lines of Sunni and Shiite camps. The military has struggled on multiple fronts in the eastern Bekaa valley and the northern city of Tripoli, where armed factions have fought street battles that often last several days.
Few had heard of al-Asir until last year, when he began agitating for Hizbullah to disarm and to clear the apartments near his mosque.
Last year, he set up a protest tent city that closed a main road in Sidon for a month in a sit-in meant to pressure Hizbullah to disarm.
Earlier this month, he accused the army of “defending” the apartments owned by the Shiite party.
He warned he would resort to a “military option” if his demand to vacate them were not met.