Following are summaries of some of the main stories in a selection of Lebanese newspapers Thursday. The Daily Star cannot vouch for the accuracy of these reports.
Nabi Sheet residents keep up with news about mysterious explosion
Although all eyes were focused on the extensive loss of life and material damage resulting from a series of bloody explosions that rocked Aleppo, Wednesday, the domestic scene was penetrated by an explosion that ripped through a Hezbollah ammunition depot in the town of Nabi Sheet in the eastern Bekaa.
The blast, which went off under mysterious and ambiguous circumstances, raised doubts at both the security and political levels.
In light of a Hezbollah siege – denying both the media and security forces access to the blast scene and the entire area – the incident raised fears of a new phase of the implications of the Syria crisis on Lebanon, this time fraught with many caveats.
Prominent March 14 sources told An-Nahar overnight that Cabinet completely ignored the incident, one that is shrouded by ambiguity and poses danger to Lebanon’s security and geography.
Hezbollah in the frontline from Qosseir to Nabi Sheet
In the absence of political boundaries between the reality of Lebanon and the crisis in Syria and the disassociation policy, the explosion in Nabi Sheet Wednesday less than 24 hours after Hezbollah buried jihadists killed in Syria, shook Lebanon’s security and political arenas.
The blast came two days after reports that Hezbollah commander Mohammad Hussein Hajj Nassif was killed with other Hezbollah members during battles against the rebels in Syria and after Nassif’s funeral in the Bekaa in the presence of Hezbollah leaders amid conflicting reports on how they were killed.
In a statement Wednesday the joint leadership of the Free Syrian Army vowed a “violent response to Hezbollah whose fighters are spread throughout Syria.”
Rifi did it: Volunteers as police officers accepted despite fraud
Police chief Maj. Gen. Ashraf Rifi made all volunteers who applied to join the Internal Security Forces as police officers pass the psychological exam, despite being accused of tampering with the results.
Rifi announced the results of the candidates’ psychological exam without referring to the ISF command. He established his word and overstepped the Cabinet as if it does not exist.
There was suspicion that officers close to Rifi had manipulated the results of nearly 53 candidates when the exams reached the ISF headquarters. The exams were conducted by the Lebanese Army.
9 killed in Nabi Sheet explosion ... resistance mourns 3 martyrs
Fears of a confrontation between Hezbollah and the Free Syrian Army
Has the Syria crisis seriously reached our doorstep?
This question was asked by everybody. All the country’s other issues were overshadowed by this concern.
Diplomatic and political circles have raised concerns regarding a confrontation between Hezbollah and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) over accusations that Hezbollah is fighting [alongside Assad forces] in Syria.
The Joint Command of the FSA vowed to “respond harshly” to what it described as “Hezbollah members spread throughout Syria in retaliation for its meddling in Syrian affairs and for assisting Bashar Assad’s regime in killing the Syrian people.”
The FSA also claimed responsibility for the killing of [Hezbollah commander] Mohammad Hussein Hajj Nassif Shams. In a statement, the FSA said Shams was killed in an ambush in the city of Qusair near Homs.
Not only that, but the FSA Joint Command also threatened Hezbollah leader [Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah], vowing to “nail him.”
Although there is no tangible link between signs of confrontation and news of the arms depot explosion in Nabi Sheet – which killed nine members, including three from Hezbollah – many question marks were raised over how the blast took place, its timing and outcome, particularly in light of the reports that said the depot contained missiles in addition to the rocket-propelled grenades and ammunition.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi announced he was pulling out of the parliamentary elections race and threatened former head of the Banking Association Francois Bassil that he would shut banks if he approved a controversial salary increase.