BEIRUT: The Lebanese Forces (LF) political party voiced its support for Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai’s upcoming visit to the northern region of Akkar, stressing the need to protect coexistence following reports of plans to attack the patriarch during his visit, in a statement issued Saturday.
“Following the discovery in recent investigations of alarming information relating to terrorist attempts to threaten civil peace and incite strife between Christians and Muslims in Akkar, especially during a visit by Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai to that region, MP Strida Geagea phoned Rai and stressed the necessity of safeguarding peace between the Lebanese,” according to the LF statement.
The statement was referring to reports of Akkar attacks planned to coincide with the visit of Rai to the region, which is scheduled for Aug. 13-16.
Initially, talk of possible perpetrators of attacks on Rai and Christians in the north centered on Islamists, following the circulation of written statements threatening Christians said to have been penned by Islamists. However, following the arrest of two-time Information Minister and MP Michel Samaha, reports began to speak of a Syrian plot.
Samaha was detained Thursday for questioning over alleged involvement in the transportation of explosives from Syria to Lebanon for use in terrorist attacks in the north, a senior security official told The Daily Star Friday.
Geagea also articulated Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea’s full support for Rai and what Bkirki symbolizes, as well as “all that protects and strengthens coexistence between the Lebanese and guarantees their safety and freedom.”