TRIPOLI, Lebanon: Three people, including a Hezbollah activist and a policeman, were killed in a gunfight in Tripoli at dawn Thursday, in the latest incident linked to the war in Syria, security sources said.
Gunmen from the Bab al-Tabbaneh neighborhood rode motorcycles and fired at Husam al-Mouri, a supporter of Hezbollah, and his two brothers in the Zahrieh area, the sources said.
Mouri died instantly, while a Bab al-Tabbaneh resident, identified as Abboudi Akkari, and policeman Fayyad Abdullah were also killed.
They said Mouri’s brothers – Anwar and Hashem – suffered multiple gunshot wounds. Witnesses said the gunmen attacked the Mouri brothers after learning that they were trying to reopen a Hezbollah office in the area that had been closed by the Lebanese Army.
Also, a bitter dispute had erupted between the Mouri family and members of the pro-Future Movement Afyouni family during violence that had gripped Tripoli, linked to the war in Syria.
The Lebanese Army, already deployed around the Bab al-Tabbaneh neighborhood, whose residents support the uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad, and the rival Jabal Mohsen neighborhood, which backs the Assad regime, fanned out around the scene of the shooting to restore order.
Since May, more than 30 people have been killed in sporadic fighting between the two groups.
Separately, an investigating judge in Beirut charged two Lebanese and a Palestinian with planning to carry out “terror attacks” across Lebanon.
Judge Danny Zeani charged the three men with arms possession and making bombs in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain al-Hilweh.
They were also charged with planning to carry out terrorist attacks in specific areas, a judicial source told The Daily Star.
The source said the three suspects were arrested by members of the Internal Security Forces’ Information Branch earlier this week.
Lebanon has been hit by a spate of rocket and bombing attacks linked to the war in Syria. A deadly car bombing in Beirut’s southern suburbs last week killed 30 people and wounded more than 300 others.
One day after Army commander Gen. Jean Kahwagi said the military was fighting an all-out war against terrorists, Caretaker Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn said that the security situation had reached “a delicate stage” and urged people to rally behind the Army.
“The war on terrorism has become the theme of the current stage, especially since this terrorism, which has no religion or sect, needs only the fragmentation and divisions of the Lebanese in order to sweep them away,” Ghosn said.
He urged all Lebanese to show solidarity with the military and security agencies, criticizing unidentified politicians for spreading doubts about the work of these bodies, or for labeling them in sectarian terms.
Separately, a military judge issued warrants against six individuals, including an Egyptian sheikh, over a recent alleged terror plot in Daraya in the Iqlim al-Kharroub region of Mount Lebanon.
Military Judge Riad Abu Ghayda issued the arrest warrants after completing his interrogation of Egyptian Sheikh Ahmad Dakhakhni as well as two Syrians and three Lebanese, a judicial source told The Daily Star.
Dakhakhni’s two sons were killed on Aug. 4 when a bomb they were manufacturing at their home in Daraya accidentally exploded. The incident stoked fears the two brothers were part of a wider network.
The detained Syrians were identified as Ammar Naqeshbandi and Mohammad Naqeshbandi. The Lebanese suspects are Samer Fawwaz, Bassam Kiwan and Mohammad Tahesh.
The six were charged with “forming an armed ring in addition to the possession of arms and explosive materials and making bombs with the purpose of carrying out terrorist attacks.” Abu Ghayda Monday will interrogate Syrian national Mohammad Hasan Massoud, who was seriously wounded in the Daraya blast, the source said.
For his part, caretaker Interior Minister Marwan Charbel chaired a security meeting over a plan to combat terrorist groups and forestall potential car bombings, praising inter-agency coordination, while a similar meeting took place in Nabatieh, under Governor Mahmoud Mawla. – Additional reporting by Youssef Diab