Lebanon News

Lebanon ministers vow justice after 'monstrous' Tripoli attack

Lebanese Army soldiers man an area beside a cafe where a bomb attack took place in Jabal Mohsen, Tripoli, January 10, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s interior minister Sunday denounced the “monstrous” twin suicide attack that targeted a Tripoli cafe the day before, while the justice minister vowed to punish those behind the bombings that killed nine and wounded more than 30.

Saturday's attack on the Omran cafe in the neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen left nine people dead and wounded more than 30.

The Lebanese Army said two Lebanese attackers - Taha Samir al-Khayal, 22, and Bilal Mohammad al-Mariyan, 29 -strapped with 4-kilo suicide vests were behind the blasts.

The Nusra Front had claimed responsibility for the twin blasts in the majority Alawite neighborhood which had witnessed years of deadly, Syria-related clashes with rival neighborhood Bab al-Tabbaneh.

Saturday’s explosion is the first serious breach to a security plan implemented in June 2014 that ended years of clashes between the neighborhoods.

Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk said Saturday’s attack was “a monstrous assault on [both] the residents of Jabal Mohsen and all the Lebanese.”

Machnouk said that the Lebanese would “thwart these kinds of assaults through unity and solidarity.”

Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi who is a native of the northern city said that everyone who either planned or participated in the “unacceptable and condemned” act would be pursued by the full force of the law.

In a statement released by his news office Saturday evening, the justice minister said that he would call on the Cabinet to refer the case to the Judicial Council along with other terrorist attacks so that “those responsible will be pursued and tried by the judiciary [before] being served a fair punishment,” he said.

Saturday’s attack marks the first serious breach to a security plan implemented in 2014 that ended years of clashes in Tripoli between the mostly Alawite neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen and the mostly Sunni Bab al-Tabbaneh.

Recurring violence in Tripoli took on an increasingly sectarian nature with the beginning of the war in Syria. Most residents of Jabal Mohsen back President Bashar Assad, while Bab al-Tabbaneh’s residents largely support the rebels fighting to overthrow him.

Lebanon’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdel-Latif Derian called on Lebanese to stand beside the Army and security forces who are “carrying out their national duty by preserving stability and security across the country.”

 

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