Following are summaries of some of the main stories in a selection of Lebanese newspapers Saturday. The Daily Star cannot vouch for the accuracy of these reports.
March 14 meets [Saturday] to look into repercussions of release of officers in case of sheikh’s killing
The Army in [Beirut’s] southern suburb: The beginning of the end of the hostages case
Attention returned to the issue of the hostages in Lebanon Friday with the announcement by the Army that it carried out judicial orders to arrest Hasan al-Meqdad, the brother of Maher al-Meqdad, amid information obtained by Al-Mustaqbal that the Army was continuing its arrests until all the hostages are released.
A ministerial source revealed that the Army had taken the decision to carry out the operation in light of Turkish calls to free the Turkish hostage and the other Syrians being held by the Meqdads and after reports that a number of the Meqdad clan were extorting money in a number of neighborhoods in Beirut’s southern suburbs.
The source added that after the arrest of Hasan Meqdad, the army informed the Meqdads of the need to release the hostages. The clan refused and hinted it could attack an army base in the area, which put members of the military on alert amid a decision not to retreat until the hostages had been freed.
And while this operation raised questions as to whether it was the beginning of the end of the case of the hostages and whether the operation was done in coordination with relevant sides, the ministerial source stressed that the operation took place with the knowledge of Hezbollah and that the Army “will not go back [on the decision]” before the task was completed.
Army launches raid in Rways in unique move
Siniora to An-Nahar: Salary [scale hike decision] too soon and serves electoral purposes
While the country began the week preparing for the planned three-day visit of Pople Benedict XVI, Friday saw a unique development with the Army raiding the Meqdad neighborhood in Rways in Beirut’s southern suburb and apprehended some eight individuals with arrest warrants involved in several incidents that have occurred recently, including abductions.
Meqdad military wing official arrested
A security incident took place in Beirut’s southern suburb Friday as the army arrested an official belonging to the military wind of the Meqdad clan while Hezbollah responded to the March 14 coalition’s memo to the president and warned of its dangers. Meanwhile the opposition linked the release of Army officers involved in the case of the killing of a sheikh with a “plan” to sabotage the visit of the pope.