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Lebanon News

Hezbollah threatens to use force to reopen blocked roads

FILE - In this April 1996 file photo, two Hezbollah fighters stand near Katyusha rockets in the southern village of Ein Qana, Lebanon. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari, file)

SIDON, Lebanon: Hezbollah has prepared a plan to use force to reopen the highway connecting Beirut to the south should it be blocked, and asked the Progressive Socialist Party to relay this message to the Future Movement. A security source told The Daily Star the plan was to prevent supporters of the Future Movement and other March 14 groups from shutting down the highway, particularly along the coastal village of Nahmeh and near the exits to the Iqlim al-Kharoub villages of Barja and Jadra.

If the highway is closed, armed groups would open fire to reopen it.

The source said the armed groups were made up of more than 150 members that operate under the Resistance Brigades. They are from Hezbollah, the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, the Arab Tawhid Party and other March 8 parties centered in Iqlim al-Kharoub and the Chouf.

Following the assassination of Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hasan last month, supporters of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s Future Movement blocked the highway connecting the capital to the south for three days – a stronghold of Hezbollah and Amal.

Some drivers and passengers were assaulted, though the Future Movement denied having any responsibility for the violence.

According to the source, Hezbollah informed the PSP in recent meetings it would no longer tolerate highway closures or violence against those traveling along the road.

The party said the road would be reopened at any cost and asked PSP officials to relay this message to the Future Movement.

In remarks last month, Wi’am Wahhab, head of the Arab Tawhid Party, said that members of his group would “cut the hand” of anyone trying to block the highway along Nahmeh which also leads to the Chouf Mountains.

The source said that these remarks were in line with Hezbollah’s plan.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on November 08, 2012, on page 5.

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