TRIPOLI, Lebanon: The Lebanese Army deployed heavily in the northern city of Tripoli Tuesday morning to ease fears over a threat against Christians that appeared to be posed by ISIS militants.
“We came to slaughter you, you worshipers of the cross," read graffiti on the wall of Mar Elias Church in the Mina neighborhood.
The Lebanese Army quickly responded, beefing up measures in Tripoli, in the vicinity of Abu Ali Bridge and the inner souks.
Tensions have risen in Tripoli, with several incident of intimidation against the city's Christian community. Crosses were allegedly burned over the weekend and several churches were defaced with the message "The Islamic State is coming," thought to be in retaliation for the burning of Islamist flags by several youths in Beirut's Sassine Square.
The incidents have been widely condemned by officials, with Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi promising a full investigation into any attempts to incite sectarian strife.
Prime Minister Tammam Salam warned Monday against allowing the Lebanese to be divided by sect, suggesting that the Nusra Front and ISIS, which are holding at least 23 soldiers and policemen captive, sought to sow this strife to further their plot against Lebanon.