SIDON, Lebanon: The Lebanese Army took stricter security measures in and around the southern city of Sidon Tuesday, following two suicide attacks against the military late Sunday.
Concrete blocks were put up at the main entrances of Sidon as well as inner overpasses and bridges that link the city with the coastal highway.
Meanwhile, the Army continued a huge manhunt for suspects in Sunday evening’s attack on a military checkpoint at the Awali bridge. No arrests have yet been made.
Soldiers were searching the groves along the coastal highway stretching from Awali to Majdalyoun.
Three men had approached the Army checkpoint at Awali on Sidon’s northern entrance on foot. When asked for their IDs, one of the attackers dashed toward a soldier, waving a hand grenade.
The soldier opened fire, killing the attacker and causing the grenade to explode. Two soldiers were wounded and the two other suspects escaped.
Forty-five minutes later, a passenger steps out of a GMC Envoy at a random checkpoint in Majdalyoun, east of Sidon as soldiers were inspecting it. The passenger hugged Sgt. Samer Rizk and detonated a hand grenade, killing himself and Rizk.
Another soldier was wounded in the attack and two passengers were killed after troops opened fire on the Envoy.
A funeral will be held for Rizk later Tuesday at Mar Elias church in the Bekaa Valley village of Qaa.
Workplaces and schools across Sidon held a 10-minute work stoppage at midday in solidarity with the Lebanese Army.
At Sidon’s main Nejmeh Square, motorists stopped their cars in honor of the military and were soon joined by the city’s merchants and Municipal staff.
“ Sidon is the Army,” Sidon Mayor Mohammad Saudi told the crowd. “Terrorism won’t reach us.”