BEIRUT: Arab Democratic Party Secretary-General Rifaat Eid said Saturday that the 48-hour ultimatum he gave Lebanese authorities following the assassination of a party official in the northern city of Tripoli was aimed at "defusing tension" among his party's supporters.
“When we announced the 48-hour ultimatum following the killing of Diab, we were trying to cool down the Alawite community and to defuse people’s anger,” Eid said during a news conference.
“Those hoping that we will strike Tripoli are wrong,” he added.
The killing of Abdel-Rahman Diab Thursday triggered violence that left two people dead and five others wounded. Eid had warned that if Diab's killers were not arrested by the 48-hour deadline, "Tripoli will bear the consequences."
The pro-Assad ADP official said his group “supports the judiciary and the [Lebanese] Army and calls for reconciliation in Tripoli.”
The ADP leader emphasized that his party was not responsible for the twin bombings that targeted the northern city of Tripoli last year.
“We join our voice to those calling for referring the case and that of the residents of Jabal Mohsen who have been murdered to the Judicial Council,” he said, referring to residents of the largely-Alawite neighborhood where the party is based. Recurrent clashes between Jabal Mohsen and the predominantly-Sunni Bab al-Tabbaneh have claimed dozens of lives over the past three years.
“We are sure of our innocence as a party ... and we have evidence against those who tried to implicate us in the blasts," said Eid.