Miqati: We Won't Cover Anyone in Tripoli and We Won't Forgive Those Who Blew Up the Two Mosques

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Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Miqati on Tuesday said that he will not provide political cover to any security violator in the clashes-hit city of Tripoli, stressing that “no one can accept to forgive those who blew up the two mosques."

“We have decided that there is only one solution, which is to impose security in Tripoli. When we have 14 deaths caused by sniper fire, we must ask, where did these gunshots come from?" said Miqati at a press conference.

"No one can protect or provide cover to anyone who might dare to attack security forces and our objective is the issuance of the judicial warrants without disrupting the security of the city," Miqati said.

Following a meeting with President Michel Suleiman and Army chief General Jean Qahwaji in Baabda on Monday, Miqati had announced that the army will be entrusted with Tripoli's security for six months and that all security forces in the city will be put under its authority.

During the press conference on Tuesday, Miqati underline that “no one can accept to forgive those who blew up the two mosques, especially that the investigation threads are well-known.”

“From the very first moment after the bombings, Tripoli has been repeating that it will resort to the state and we don't have any personal militia,” he added.

He noted that “a large number of army troops are from Tripoli and they will enter the city to protect their people.”

“We are saying that we want security and Tripoli's residents are saying that the state is their choice and we hope everyone will back the army, which will fully implement its role,” the premier went on to say.

In response to a question, Miqati said “the army will decide the timing of the arrests and it will fully implement its mission because it has to do with the state's prestige.”

“We stress that the army has political cover from all Lebanese groups without any exception and that it will perform its mission,” he emphasized.

“As politicians and as Tripoli's MPs, we stress that we won't provide a cover for any security violator, whomever they may belong to and wherever they may exist,” added Miqati.

He noted that “we cannot be lenient regarding the state's right and all things cannot happen at the same time,” pointing out that “the army has a timeframe to impose security.”

Asked about remarks by former Internal Security Forces chief Maj. Gen. Ashraf Rifi, who had called on him to “stop the crime” in Tripoli or leave his post, Miqati said: “I don't intend to leave my post and I will fully shoulder my responsibilities.”

“We are backing the army in its mission and if stepping down could rescue Tripoli, I would have been the first person to step down,” he noted.

Asked about ex-PM Saad Hariri's comments on the situation in Tripoli, Miqati said the northern city “definitely won't be a den for the Syrian regime because Tripoli is for its people and it has suffered massacres since the 1980s.”

“As far as I know, the regime does not have a presence and there are rather security violations that we are trying to put an end to,” Miqati added.

Earlier on Tuesday, the army carried out raids in Tripoli and arrested gunmen and suspects, a day after it was entrusted with the city's security.

At least 10 people have been killed and 100 others wounded in clashes between the rival Tripoli neighborhoods of Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen since Saturday.

The fighting in the city is linked to the war raging in neighboring Syria. Bab al-Tabbaneh district, which is majority Sunni, and Jabal Mohsen, whose residents are from Syrian President Bashar Assad's sect, have been engaged in severe gunbattles since the revolt against him in March 2011.

Tensions soared in the city in August when twin car bombings hit Sunni mosques and left hundreds of casualties.

Authorities arrested several members of the Arab Democratic Party, whose stronghold is in Jabal Mohsen, on suspicion they were involved and they summoned the group's leader, Ali Eid, for questioning.

Eid has refused to be questioned by police for not being “impartial." His son, Rifaat, said his father is ready to go to any security agency other than the ISF Intelligence Bureau.

The latest round of violence erupted last week when Jabal Mohsen residents were shot in their feet in vengeful sectarian attacks.

Comments 2
Thumb liberty 03 December 2013, 18:06

Miqati: We Won't Cover Anyone in Tripoli and We Won't Forgive Those Who Blew Up the Two Mosques

Justice is not charity to be forgiven. Do your job Miqati and send your commandos to arrest Eid. Talk is cheap!

Thumb lebanon_first 03 December 2013, 19:46

So why are you covering and financing Masri your chief Tabbaneh gunmen?

All you want is to get sunni street support from Hariri. But Hariri paid thousands of scolarships and liften thousands of families out of poverty.

He is another caliber than you.