BEIRUT: Sidon MPs Bahia Hariri and Fouad Siniora slammed Thursday “veiled threats” made by Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah against his rivals and said they reflect his intentions to carry out an armed attack against the city.
“The remarks by Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah, which included veiled threats to use force by saying, ‘don’t make any miscalculations with us,’ are unacceptable and condemned,” Hariri and Siniora said in a joint statement.
“The comments reflect arrogance, provocation along and preparations to carry out an armed attack against the city and its people under made up pretexts,” the statement said.
The two lawmakers said that threats to attack apartments and houses of worship are unacceptable.
“No one has the right to make threats or exclude others under any pretext. No one has the right to take the law into his own hands and impose the law of jungle,” the statement added.
Hariri and Siniora stressed that the state’s security and judicial institutions have the exclusive right to combat any violation.
Nasrallah issued a strongly worded warning against what he said were attempts to incite Sunni-Shiite strife in Lebanon in a televised address on Wednesday. “We are very, very keen on preventing confrontation, but no one should make any miscalculations with us,” he said.
Nasrallah said his party was not interested in launching attacks against any side, and also held the government should be held responsible for dealing with the rise in sectarian tension.
The Hezbollah leader accused a number of MPs from the Future Movement of pushing for sectarian clashes in Lebanon between Sunnis and Shiites in their speeches.
In reference to demands by Sheikh Ahmad Assir for Hezbollah members to evacuate apartments near his mosque, Nasrallah said that they have been living there before construction began at the Bilal Bin Rabah Mosque in Abra.
Assir has claimed that Hezbollah personnel were monitoring his movements in preparation for an attack. Assir and his supporters appeared armed in public last week, saying they were defending themselves against Hezbollah.
Hariri and Siniora said that Sidon would continue to be a city of moderation, tolerance and coexistence between Muslims and Christians.
“It [Sidon] also believes that all people from across Lebanon have the right to live and move in it, as this is a sacred right guaranteed by the Constitution as long as they all adhere to the law,” the statement said.
It added that Sidon and its people were opposed to any attempt by any side to block roads, harm the interests of residents or engage in activities that hurt stability.
“Sidon and its people also oppose the proliferation of illegitimate arms ... and consider that carrying and using of arms a violation of the law, the prestige of the state and dignity of people,” the statement added.
The statement called on the authorities to arrest the killers of two residents of Sidon who were shot last November during an armed clash between Hezbollah and supporters of Assir in a Sidon neighborhood.
Separately, Future Movement MP Khodr Habib wondered how people could be assured that strife would not happen when a group has been using its arms locally.
“How can we assure people that strife will not break out when arms have been used domestically over the past 10 years?” Habib told a local radio station, in reference to Hezbollah.
“The security of people is now being violated through kidnappings and a rise in thefts, while they tell us that arms are being kept only for resistance,” he said.
For his part, former Prime Minister Salim al-Hoss said sectarian strife would destroy the country and is in no one’s interest.