A car part of Sports and Youth Minister Faisal Karami's convoy was engulfed in flames on Friday following a grenade attack in Azmi street in the northern port city of Tripoli as families of Islamist detainees held a sit-in to protest the ongoing detention of the men, as his father former Premier Omar Karami slammed the “lack of security” in Lebanon.
“I was heading to Friday prayers when the incident took place,” Karami told LBCI channel.
He said that gunmen were on the streets and suddenly gunfire erupted.
“We didn't know what happened,” he added.
“I don't think I was the target of the attack,” Karami told OTV channel earlier.
He stated that the convoy was passing in the area when several cars came under gunfire.
“I think the unrest aims at targeting the country's security situation,” the minister pointed out.
Karami told LBCI that “five of the bodyguards were injured.”
The identified bodyguards are Ali Baradei, Jamal Khaled al-Hassan, Mohammed Sayyour, and Ali Ahmed Mahmoud.
Sheikh Nabil Rahim, who called for Friday's sit-in, told LBCI that Sheikh Houssam al-Sabbagh was the target behind the incident.
Voice of Lebanon radio (93.3) reported that the incident took place after Karami's bodyguards exchanged fire with several protesters participating in a sit-in held by the families of the Islamist detainees at Roumieh prison.
Al-Jadeed channel reported that it was an Energa-type rocket and not a grenade attack.
After Friday's incident, the army deployed near Karami's house in al-Maarad area and began checking the identification papers of passers-by.
The army later issued a communique saying that its units cordoned off the area of the incident as stationary and mobile checkpoints were deployed.
"The army is in pursuit of the culprits to arrest them and refer them to the competent judiciary," the statement said.
Former PM Omar Karami later held a press conference in Tripoli to denounce the incident, saying: “God saved Faisal from great evil.”
“We will consider today's incident as a mistake committed by the gunmen in the area,” he said.
“We have always voiced our commitment to the state and we will not make accusations against anyone,” he added.
"The security forces are not performing their duties in a manner that reassures the people," he noted.
“We will leave it up to the state to tackle this issue,” he continued.
“We have presented blood for Lebanon, Arabism, and the Arab world. We are always prepared to present such sacrifices,” declared the former prime minister.
“We will continue along our chosen path regardless of the hardships,” said Karami.
Moreover, he hoped that the parliamentary elections will be held on time “to produce a new parliament that would help prioritize the importance of the state.”
Several Islamists have been detained over alleged links to the Fatah al-Islam terrorist network that fought deadly gunbattles with the Lebanese army in 2007.
Authorities announced earlier this year that the trials for the inmates will kick off in February after the inauguration of a courtroom at Roumieh facility to speed up their trials.
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