Miqati Says Security Forces to Deal Firmly with Violators in Tripoli

Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Miqati stressed on Saturday that the Lebanese state will not hesitate in taking all the necessary decisions to avert the situation in the northern city of Tripoli, saying that the security forces will deal firmly with violators.

“We have takes several security decision that should aid the security forces in carrying out their tasks in Tripoli,” Miqati told reporters after talks with Greek Orthodox Patriarch Youhanna X Yazigi at Balamand University.

“Enough promises,” the caretaker premier said.

Asked about the assault against the residents of Jabal Mohsen, Miqati denounced the act, saying that it's rejected.

“We ordered security forces to deal firmly with the matter,” he added.

Miqati headed earlier on Saturday a security meeting in Tripoli, attended by several political and security officials.

“I wanted the meeting to remain away from media spotlight,” he told reporters.

Tensions have been running high in Tripoli since Thursday, when residents of Jabal Mohsen began flying Syrian flags to demonstrate their support for the Assad regime.

In response, residents of neighboring Bab el-Tebbaneh raised the flag favored by rebels seeking the ouster of Assad.

Sniper activity renewed on Friday when Wassim al-Khatib, an Alawite, was shot in his feet in the area of al-Beddawi-al-Mankoubine, in the second such incident in three days.

Several Tripoli municipal workers from Jabal Mohsen were shot in their feet on Thursday in the area of al-Zahriyeh.

The attacks were claimed by the “Military Committee to Avenge the Victims of the Tripoli Bombings,” referring to deadly twin car bomb blasts that targeted Sunni mosques in Tripoli last August.

Tripoli's population is 80 percent Sunni and 11 percent Alawite -- an offshoot of Shiite Islam -- and violence between the two communities dates back to Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war.

But the tensions have been aggravated by the conflict in Syria, and the city was struck by a deadly double car bombing in August that killed 45 people.

Concerning the abduction of the case of Bishops Youhanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yazigi, who were kidnapped by armed men in Syria in April, Miqati said that the issue will take its “normal course,” expressing hope that good news will be heard soon.

Miqati hailed Greek Orthodox Patriarch Youhanna X Yazigi's rhetoric, who said that there's no difference between Muslims and Christians in the region.

“We need to hear a wise rhetoric in order to unite the people,” the caretaker Premier said.

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