Lebanon News

Amal cancels iftar gatherings over security fears

Al-Saha Restaurant in Beirut's southern suburbs, Friday, Jan. 2, 2009. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: The Amal Movement Saturday said it canceled its scheduled Ramadan iftars this year, citing security concerns in the country, a day after Hezbollah took similar measures.

A statement released by the party said iftars were "canceled for the safety of the attendees in light of the general situation in the country and security fears.”

The Amal-sponsored Foundation for Lebanese Martyrs said that its annual iftar on Monday under the patronage of Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri was also called off.

Hezbollah reportedly made a decision to refrain from organizing iftars this year, days after a would-be suicide bomber told investigators he was part of a planned attack against a restaurant in Beirut’s southern suburbs.

Al-Saha restaurant is frequented by Hezbollah officials.

The would-be Saudi bomber, Abdul-Rahman al-Shnifi, was detained during a raid on his hotel room in the Duroy hotel Wednesday, after his partner blew himself up to evade arrest.

Al-Shnifi revealed to interrogators a plot to carry out a double suicide attack outside the popular restaurant in the suburbs.

Last week, security forces foiled a plot to assassinate Berri during a ceremony in Beirut. Interior Minister Nouahd Machnouk has said he personally asked Berri to call off a UNESCO gathering in which the speaker was expected to attend.

Last year, a series of car bombings targeted the southern suburbs, where Hezbollah enjoys strong support. Most of the deadly attacks were claimed by extremist groups fighting in Syria, vowing more bombings in retaliation to the Lebanese group's involvement in the war-torn country.





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