The following are a selection of stories from Lebanese newspapers that may be of interest to The Daily Star readers. The Daily Star cannot vouch for the accuracy of these reports.
Security alert contained the rocket attack
Lebanese security and state officials were not surprised that someone attempted to involve Lebanon in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has been going on for days. The speedy arrest of the perpetrators only proved that security forces were on alert and had anticipated such an act.
A security source told An-Nahar that security forces wre searching for two Palestinians belonging to the Islamic Jihadist Movement based on the confessions of Hussein Izzat Atwe, who was arrested after the Army raided a Bekaa Valley hospital he was in.
An-Nahar obtained information that Prime Minister Tammam Salam launched contacts with representatives of influential countries in Lebanon to distance his country from the repercussions of events in Gaza. He stressed that what happened along the border with Israel was the responsibility of neither the state nor the resistance, affirming Lebanon’s commitment to U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701.
Meanwhile, Salam was upset over what happened in the Cabinet earlier this week and is determined not to call for a Cabinet session next week, awaiting the results of ongoing contacts among rival groups who are working on reaching a solution over disputed issues.
French-Iranian negotiations over presidency
While international reports on Lebanon's future amid a presidential vacuum accumulate as Lebanon awaits some kind of a regional-international compromise, European diplomats said that France began showing an interest in the Lebanese situation. France is working on holding talks with concerned countries, including Iran, in order to revive discussion on the presidency and a possible push in the direction of speedy election.
The sources said that France seeks to convince various regional and Lebanese parties to move to plan B, meaning, to expand the list of consensus candidates and put an end to the exclusive list of Michel Aoun and Samir Geagea or even the four main Maronite figures. In this regard, the names of Army commander Gen. Jean Kahwagi and Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh would be added to the list of possible candidates along with Bkirki's list of favorite candidates.
The French initiative comes at a time when everyone feels that the presidential election is now dead while Lebanese parties insist that there is no end in sight and that the fate of the presidential election hangs in the balance until the regional picture becomes clearer.
Sigrid Kaag to replace Plumbly in Lebanon
Al-Hayat obtained information that the U.N. is seeking to appoint Dutch diplomat Sigrid Kaag to replace the current U.N. Special Coordinator to Lebanon Derek Plumbly. Kaag was initially supposed to replace Lakhdar Brahimi after he quit from his position as U.N. envoy to Syria before the United Nations decided to appoint an Italian diplomat. Kaag was appointed in 2013 to oversee the U.N. mission tasked with ridding President Bashar Assad's regime of chemical weapons. She was born in 1961 and studied at Oxford University. She has held several U.N. positions and speaks fluent Arabic.
After suicide bombers, the perpetrators behind rocket attack in detention
Western diplomatic sources told Al-Joumhouria that events along the Lebanese-Israeli border were expected, which led the Army and UNIFIL to remain on high alert since the conflict in Gaza began and that the peacekeepers have played an important role in containing tensions and preventing it from reaching south Lebanon. The sources also noted that the incident would not result in any military changes in south Lebanon because concerned parties believe the rocket attack was out of their control. Israel and Lebanon are expected to lodge complaints at the U.N. over the incident.