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Suspected Kidnapper of Lebanese Taxi Driver Arrested

The Internal Security Forces Intelligence Branch arrested on Tuesday the suspected kidnapper of taxi driver Joseph al-Khawli earlier this month, the state-run National News Agency reported.

NNA identified the suspect as L. Jaafar.

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Relatives of Pilgrims Scuffle with Soldiers Near Turkish Embassy

The families of nine Lebanese pilgrims held hostage in Syria since May last year scuffled on Tuesday with army troops during a protest they held near the Turkish embassy in Rabieh.

Dozens of soldiers and policemen were deployed to prevent the crowd from reaching the mission.

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Israel Army Chief Praises Deterrence against Hizbullah Action

Israeli army chief Benny Gantz said Tuesday that Israel's military capabilities were deterring Hizbullah from carrying out attacks against the Jewish state.

“Hizbullah knows very well what would happen to it if war breaks out. Lebanon knows what will happen if war breaks out. Therefore, I believe they are deterred,” Gantz said in an interview with Israel Radio.

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National Coalition: Lebanon Must Stop Hizbullah Attacks in Syria

Syria's main opposition National Coalition called on Lebanon to control its frontiers, after rebels said they fired across the border in retaliation against Hizbullah.

"The Syrian Coalition calls on the Lebanese government to exert control over its borders and put an immediate stop to Hizbullah's military operations on Syrian territory," the group said late Monday.

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March 8 Linking Cabinet Formation to Deal on Electoral Law

The Hizbullah-led March 8 alliance is putting obstacles to Premier-designate Tammam Salam's work to slow down the cabinet formation process over its priority to first clinch a deal on a new electoral law, reports said Tuesday.

An Nahar daily quoted sources as saying that the coalition prioritizes an agreement among rival parties on the vote law and considers the formation of the government as a secondary item.

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Parliamentary Subcommittee to Hold 2nd Meeting in Test of Intentions on Vote Law

A parliamentary subcommittee agreed on Tuesday to hold more meetings to set the stage for further discussions between rival lawmakers on an electoral draft-law, its chairman MP Robert Ghanem said.

“We will meet at 11:00 am Thursday and decide after it or after a few more meetings to take further steps towards reaching a deal on a vote law or call it quits,” Ghanem said after the subcommittee held what he dubbed an unofficial session at parliament.

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Hizbullah Reportedly Seeks Rapprochement with Saudi Arabia as Bassil Meets Asiri

Caretaker Energy Minister Jebran Bassil held talks with Saudi Ambassador Ali Awadh Asiri on Tuesday, a move seen as a rapprochement between the March 8 alliance and Riyadh.

An Nahar newspaper said Bassil, who is a leading member of the Free Patriotic Movement that is allied with Hizbullah, had requested to meet with Asiri.

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Mansour Awaits Complete File on Cross-Border Attacks amid Dispute with Abu Faour

Caretaker Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour said Tuesday he was waiting for the complete file of deadly attacks on Lebanese territories from the Syrian side of the border to take the appropriate measures.

Mansour made the disclosure in a remark to al-Joumhouria newspaper when it asked him what step he was planning to take after he was tasked with filing a complaint with the Arab League to ask for its assistance in confronting the attacks.

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Aazaz Abductees Families Prevent Turkish Trucks from Unloading at Fish Market

The families of the Lebanese Shiite pilgrims abducted in Syria’s Aazaz staged a sit-in on Monday at the Karantina fish market and prevented Turkish refrigerated trucks from unloading their shipments, in the second such protest against Turkey’s interests in Lebanon.

Adham Zgheib recited a statement in the name of the protesters, confirming that the families will continue their escalatory steps until the release of the abductees and saying they have been “fed up with the false promises given to them over the past 11 months.”

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Shiite Cleric Gets 5 Years Hard Labor on Charges of Spying for Israel

The Military Court on Monday sentenced Shiite cleric Sheikh Hasan Msheimesh to five years hard labor on charges of collaboration with Israel, state-run National News Agency reported.

The Lebanese judiciary had indicted Msheimesh with spying for Israel on October 19, 2011.

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