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Berri: Terrorists want Lebanon an arena for Jihad
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri receives March 8 MPs in Beirut, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013. (The Daily Star/Lebanese Parliament Website, HO)
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri receives March 8 MPs in Beirut, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013. (The Daily Star/Lebanese Parliament Website, HO)
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BEIRUT: Speaker Nabih Berri warned Wednesday that terror groups in Lebanon were seeking to the turn the country into an “arena for Jihad” and President Michel Sleiman vowed to counter the growing number of security incidents.

Referring to recent attacks against the Lebanese Army, Berri was quoted as telling MPs during a weekly meeting at his residence in Ain al-Tineh that the terror groups behind the attacks “seek to turn Lebanon into an arena for jihad.”

The Army has come under attack in recent days. On Sunday, a soldier was killed and three others were wounded in two separate attacks by gunmen on Army checkpoints in south Lebanon. On Tuesday, rockets fired from Syria into the northeastern city of Hermel wounded two soldiers.

Berri asked why the Lebanese “do not unite to confront what challenges their stability and unity.”

He also warned of the consequences if the security situation continued to deteriorate.

Berri separately met U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon David Hale. No comments were made after the talks.

Meanwhile, Sleiman met caretaker Interior Minister Marwan Charbel and Army commander Gen. Jean Kahwagi to follow up on the recent security developments in the country, the president’s office said.

Sleiman followed up on the deadly Sunday shooting along the Lebanon-Israel border, the two “terror attacks” against the Army in south Lebanon, Tuesday’s car bombing in the northeast and the rocket attacks that hit a military barracks in the city of Hermel.

The president, according to the statement, reiterated the “need to confront these attacks strongly and decisively and to pursue and arrest those responsible for them, including their masterminds.”

According to a Baabda Palace statement Tuesday, Sleiman reiterated his call on the need for Lebanese to raise their level of vigilance in the face of “repeated attempts to transfer violence and terrorism to Lebanon, the most recent being in Baalbek and Hermel and to continue combating terrorism and confront it with all force.”

Sleiman also called on the Lebanese to support security forces “with the Army at its head in order to enable it to deflect and intercept those behind these acts and thwart their plans.”

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