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Tensions high in Sidon after sheikh attacked

Sheikh Khalil Al-Solh, right, stands at the Al-Arqam Mosque in Sidon on Saturday, June 28, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)

SIDON: Tensions ran high in the coastal city of Sidon Saturday after members of a Hezbollah-affiliated group allegedly attacked a preacher overnight.

Speaking to The Daily Star, Sheikh Khalil Al-Solh said a group of young people was hanging posters around the Mosque to commemorate the start of Ramadan, which starts Sunday.

"Suddenly, a group of men got out of a BMW and threw stones at them and beat them with metal objects," Solh said.

The same thing happened hours later when they attacked me personally and used profanities."

The preacher said he has filed a complaint at the Sidon police station.

Immediately after the scuffle, security forces deployed around the Arqam Mosque in Sidon and carried out raids in search of the perpetrators.

Solh said the men were known members of the Sidon-based pro-Hezbollah Resistance Brigades.

The incident prompted Sidon Mufti Salim Sousan to convene a meeting at Dar al-Fatwa, releasing a statement afterward, urging the government to take action.

"Security is the responsibility of the Lebanese state and we do not accept anyone outside the law,” Sousan said in a statement.

"We are committed to coexistence under the law and oppose attempts to incite sectarian and confessional strife.”

“The attack was carried out by a known group and we call on legitimate forces to take the necessary measures.”

The Committee of Muslim Scholars also held a meeting overnight Friday and said the attack was not only against a sheikh but also the sanctity of mosques.

"Such attacks sound the alarm of a sectarian strife. Therefore, officials should play their role in holding those accountable before it's too late."

 

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Summary

Tensions ran high in the coastal city of Sidon Saturday after members of a Hezbollah-affiliated group allegedly attacked a preacher overnight.

Speaking to The Daily Star, Sheikh Khalil Al-Solh said a group of young people was hanging posters around the Mosque to commemorate the start of Ramadan, which starts Sunday.

Solh said the men were known members of the Sidon-based pro-Hezbollah Resistance Brigades.

The Committee of Muslim Scholars also held a meeting overnight Friday and said the attack was not only against a sheikh but also the sanctity of mosques.


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