This YouTube grab released on March 23, 2014, shows fugitive preacher Sheikh Ahmad Assir speaking in an undisclosed location. (The Daily Star/YouTube grab)
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Radical Salafist preacher Ahmad al-Assir accused Lebanon's two major political blocs of conspiring to assassinate him and suggested that Sunni soldiers should defect from the Lebanese Army.The Army cracked down last June on Assir and his loyalists after soldiers were shot at a checkpoint near his "security perimeter" in Abra, a neighborhood in Sidon. Assir had repeatedly clashed with the Resistance Brigades, a militia backed by Hezbollah. Assir suggested that it was unlawful for Sunni soldiers to serve in the Army, saying it is a tool to oppress the sect and employed death squads that murder Sunni youth, and refused to intervene to protect Sunni civilians.
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