Salafist Sheikh Ahmad Assir attends a demonstration in support of jailed Islamists in Beirut, Friday, April 20, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)
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The Military Tribunal Tuesday postponed for the second time the trial of Sheikh Ahmad Assir until Jan. 5 over informal defense petitions and health reasons, angering families of the 18 soldiers killed during the 2013 clashes with the radical preacher's supporters.Ziad Bitar, a defense lawyer of the families of the slain soldiers, rejected the informal defense motions presented by Assir's lawyers, saying they were intended to waste time.In addition to Assir, some 72 suspects involved in the Abra clashes appeared in court.The preacher is charged with leading the two-day gun battles against the Lebanese Army in Abra during which 18 soldiers and about 40 Assir supporters were killed.Assir also faces allegations of planning to assassinate political figures. Assir was widely believed to have been hiding in the Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp in Sidon.
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