File - Saad al-Masri, center, a field commander from Bab al-Tabbaneh, attends a ceremony in Tripoli, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013. (The Daily Star/Stringer)
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Tripoli militia leader will not leave the business of vegetables and gunsUpon his return from what he dubbed a "well-deserved" vacation in Turkey last October, Tripoli's notorious militiaman Saad al-Masri received a hero's welcome in the northern city. "I will never leave the business of vegetables or guns," Masri told supporters, denying rumors he had fled the country after amassing a fortune. Oddly, his comments are an accurate reflection of the reality the man has been living since the death of his brother Khodor, also a militia leader, in one of the many rounds of fighting between Tripoli's rival neighborhoods of Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen. Sheikh Masri, not related, said that Saad al-Masri inherited his status as a fighter and a businessman from his late brother Khodor.The sheikh described Khodor al-Masri as charismatic and a "God-fearing man," saying he was famous for having captured the hearts and souls of young Tripoli fighters and leading by example.Although the link has never been proven, it is well known that Tripoli's major militia leaders, who in recent years have stolen the limelight from the long-neglected city's politicians, thrive due to the financial and political backing they get from local parties and figures.Whether he is getting help or not, Saad al-Masri has certainly come into money.
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