Lebanon News

Police deny assassination attempt against Rai

Lebanon's Maronite Patriarch, Beshara Rai speaks to an AFP journalist on May 13, 2014 at the See of the Maronite Catholic Patriarchate in Bkerke, that overlooks the bay of Jounieh in central Lebanon. AFP PHOTO/ANWAR AMRO

BEIRUT: The police Wednesday denied a Syrian man and his father were working with a regional intelligence agency to assassinate Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai, saying the two were released for lack of evidence.

In a statement, the Internal Security Forces said it detained a 24-year-old man identified by his initials as G.S. after he reportedly took pictures of some locations and streets leading to the town of Hamlaya, where Rai was expected to visit next month.

The ISF investigated the allegations and referred the man to the Information Branch for questioning.

Interrogation revealed that the man was mentally ill, the statement said. His father also denied the allegations and confirmed his son's mental illness.

The father told police that his son was on medications that made him hallucinate and imagine scenarios.

“Investigation revealed that the man and his father do not have ties to any intelligence agency and have no record. They were released on bail,” the statement said.

On Wednesday, security sources told The Daily Star that Lebanon’s ISF had arrested a suspect who confessed to cooperating with regional intelligence services in a plot to assassinate Rai.

Citing a security report by the ISF’s Information Branch, the sources said the suspect was arrested last week and referred to Military Prosecutor Saqr Saqr.





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