Former prime minister Saad Hariri on Tuesday commended Tripoli residents for their “awareness” that “foiled all attempts to drag the city into a new series of chaos and discord.”
“It also showed the adherence of the people of Tripoli to the project of the state and its institutions by refusing all attempts to lure them against the state, because they believe that such attempts harm the city and the unity of the whole nation,” Hariri said in a statement.
He added: “The national history of Tripoli shows that the city will never fall into the trap of foreign conspiracies that want to manipulate the security and safety of the people of Tripoli. They will always thwart the plots planned by those who want to use their city for purposes that are not in the interest of the people of Tripoli and Lebanon.”
Hariri stressed that “the people of Tripoli have the right to freely express their opinion according to laws, and the state should ensure this right and protect it and provide suitable solutions for the repercussions of the tensions experienced lately by the city.”
He called on all local and political leaderships in Tripoli to “accompany and support the security procedures, to preserve the security and stability of the capital of the North.”
Army troops deployed on Tuesday in sectors of Tripoli affected by clashes, in a bid to calm the northern city after three days of sectarian fighting that killed nine people and wounded dozens.
Troops entered Syria Street, the frontline of fighting between the majority Sunni Muslim district of Bab al-Tabbaneh, and Jabal Mohsen, whose residents are mostly Alawite, at around 6:00 am.
Battles first erupted on Saturday between residents of the rival neighborhoods when General Security agents arrested Shadi al-Mawlawi, a Salafist, on charges of belonging to a terrorist organization. Mawlawi's supporters say he was targeted because of his help for Syrian refugees fleeing to Lebanon.
Earlier on Tuesday, Hariri discussed the developments in Tripoli with President Michel Suleiman.
He also contacted al-Mustaqbal bloc head MP Fouad Saniora, Tripoli Mufti Sheikh Malek al-Shaar, Army Commander Gen. Jean Qahwaji, and Internal Security Forces chief Ashraf Rifi.
Hariri tackled “the necessary measures to resolve the explosive situation between Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen in order to resolve the clashes” in Tripoli, the ex-PM’s press offices said in a statement.
According to An Nahar newspaper published on Tuesday, Hariri demanded Qahwaji to order the army to interfere to end the clashes.
The former PM voiced his support for this step and to lift the political cover off all the armed men.
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