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FPM, Harb Debate Threatens to Paralyze Cabinet Work

The cabinet will witness on Thursday a heated session over a dispute between Telecommunications Minister Butros Harb and the Free Patriotic Movement.

According to As Safir newspaper published on Tuesday, the FPM is threatening to abstain from signing all decrees if Harb didn't ink the decrees that are linked to ministries governed by the party.

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Militants Dead and Injured in Infiltration Clash With Army

Several jihadists were killed and wounded in gunbattles with the Lebanese army that repelled their advance from the Syrian border town of Fleita into Lebanese territories, the state-run National News Agency reported on Tuesday.

NNA said that the army confronted the militants on the northeastern border overnight after they tried to infiltrate Lebanon from an area near Fleita that lies in the Syrian Qalamoun region.

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Zasypkin: Saudi Grant was an Incentive to Revive Russian Military Assistance to Lebanon

Russian Ambassador Alexander Zasypkin revealed that Moscow decided to provide Lebanon with military assistance promised four years ago after it was encouraged by the Saudi grant to Lebanon.

“The Saudi grant was an incentive to revive the Russian grant and put it on the move,” Zasypkin told An Nahar newspaper in an interview published on Tuesday.

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Report: Army Detains Prominent ISIL Leader as Crackdown on Extremists Ongoing

The Army Intelligence had detained recently a “dangerous” Saudi national, reportedly the leader of a group affiliated to the Islamist State of Iraq and the Levant, As Safir newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The Saudi national, whose identity remained unknown, was arrested at the Rafik Hariri International Airport as he arrived from Turkey.

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Geagea Backs Anti-IS Coalition, Slams Hizbullah for Criticizing it

Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea backed a decision by Lebanon to enter a U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State and criticized Hizbullah for rejecting the country's support of the efforts to destroy jihadists.

“I am totally with Lebanon becoming part of this Western-Arab coalition against IS … because Lebanon is one of the parties that would benefit from the destruction of this organization,” Geagea said in an interview with al-Akhbar newspaper published on Tuesday.

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Jihadists Set Tough Conditions to Free Arsal Captives

Jihadists have set hard demands in exchange for the release of the Lebanese soldiers and policemen, who were abducted in the northeastern border town of Arsal, al-Joumhouria newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The daily pointed out that the al-Qaida-affiliate al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) raised the ceiling of their demands when Qatari and Turkish authorities announced that they entered the line of negotiations to release of the kidnapped security personnel.

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Over 25 Syrian Suspects Held in New Koura, Dekwaneh Raids

Security forces on Monday arrested more than 25 Syrians during raids on refugee gatherings in the northern Koura district and the Northern Metn area of Dekwaneh, state-run National News Agency reported, amid a continued crackdown that started in the wake of the Arsal battle.

“Army intelligence agents raided the places of residence of some Syrian refugees in the Koura towns of Batroumine, Diddeh, Fih and Qalhat, arresting 25 suspect,” NNA said.

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Israeli Army Official: Syria Battlegrounds Upgraded Hizbullah Capabilities

The Israeli army is preparing to fight Hizbullah, which has developed new capabilities due to its experience in Syria's war, a senior Israeli military official said.

“Hizbullah’s confidence is growing, along with its combat experience in Syria,” the Jerusalem Post quoted the officer, who was not named, as saying.

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Kataeb Urges Steps to Halt Decline, Calls for Dissociation from Region Crises

The Kataeb Party on Monday expressed grave concern over the security situation in the country, urging steps to quickly halt the deterioration and avoid a return to the atmosphere of the 1975-1990 civil war.

In a statement issued after its political bureau's weekly meeting, the party said it “has become worried over the course of the security, political, economic and social situations that the country is embroiled in, amid the absence of a solution to all the current problems.”

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Rifi: Islamists' Trial in Roumieh Has Made Major Progress

Minister of Justice Ashraf Rifi on Monday committed himself to speed up the trials of the Islamist prisoners in Roumieh jail, amid political appeals to the judiciary to finalize this file on hope that it may reflect positively on the case of the kidnapped soldiers.

“Justice stops all kinds of chaos, violence and revenge; organizes the relationship between citizens and their government; and protects their rights, dignity and citizenship,” Rifi said in a statement addressed to the judicial authority on the occasion of the new judicial year.

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