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Sidon stands with Army, as slain soldier buried
Hundreds of residents gathered in front of the municipality building, including Sidon School Network students.
Hundreds of residents gathered in front of the municipality building, including Sidon School Network students.
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SIDON/Al-QAA Lebanon: Sidon residents stood in silence for 10 minutes Tuesday in solidarity with the Army, while the Bekaa Valley district of Hermel laid to rest Samer Rizk, the soldier who was killed at an Army checkpoint over the weekend.

The Consultative Gathering of Sidon called on employees, students and drivers to stop their activities at noon for 10 minutes to pay their respects to the Army.

Hundreds of officials and residents gathered in front of the municipality building with the participation of Sidon School Network students and members of the Merchant’s Organization.

Doctors, medical staff and pharmacists held a similar gathering in front of Hammoud Hospital, while traffic also stopped for 10 minutes on the streets.

Rizk, an Army first sergeant, and four gunmen were killed Sunday evening in attacks on two Army checkpoints in the southern city of Sidon.

Gunmen in a Range Rover without license plates attacked an Army checkpoint at the bridge over the Awali River on Sidon’s northern entrance. An Army statement said one of the gunmen threw a hand grenade at the soldiers after they asked the driver to pull over, wounding two soldiers.

A few minutes after the incident, in the village of Majdalyoun, east of Sidon, a gunman in a GMC Envoy stepped out of his vehicle and detonated a hand grenade at an Army checkpoint along the main road.

The Army statement said Rizk was killed in the attack and another soldier was wounded.

Sources that The Daily Star spoke to afterward said one of the slain gunmen was wearing an explosives belt.

The sources said Mohammad Jamil al-Zarif and Ibrahim al-Mir, both Lebanese, and a wanted Palestinian, Bahaeddine al-Sayyed, all supporters of Assir, were in the vehicle that attacked the military in Majdalyoun.

The identity of the perpetrators of the Awali attack remains unknown.

The family of the Rizk bid him farewell at a solemn funeral procession in the Hermel village of Al-Qaa.

Rizk’s coffin was taken through the streets of his hometown, where residents threw rose petals and rice as it passed, before it was carried by his comrades to St. Elias Church. Funeral prayers were held and he was laid to rest in his family’s cemetery.

“My son held my head high and protected the lives of his countrymen with his life and protected his country as well. He was a brave man,” Rizk’s father Youssef said at his funeral.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on December 18, 2013, on page 4.
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