Lebanon News

Sidon probes alleged site of Aoun convoy shooting

Army vehicles drive down the end of the eastern highway of Sidon, south Lebanon, Sunday, September 23, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)

SIDON, Lebanon: A probe was launched Sunday in the southern coastal city of Sidon at the alleged site of a shooting on one of MP Michel Aoun’s convoys a day earlier.

Sidon’s General Prosecutor Sameh al-Haj, accompanied by Lebanese Army Intelligence, judicial police and Internal Security Force’s Information Branch, conducted their investigation at the end of the eastern Sidon highway leading to Beirut – the alleged site of the shooting on the convoy vehicle.

Aoun’s office said Saturday that one of the March 8 leader’s convoys was shot on its way back from Jezzine, where he had earlier addressed supporters in an apparent primer to the 2012 parliamentary elections.

Media reports said the shooting took place near the Bahaeddine Hariri mosque in the coastal city.

Security sources told The Daily Star Saturday that a shot was fired at a vehicle belonging to one of two decoy convoys accompanying Aoun during his return trip from Jezzine, south Lebanon.

Speaking to LBCI, Interior Minister Marwan Charbel confirmed Sunday that the decoy convoy was fired upon in Sidon and said that investigations were under way.

Aoun headed to Jezzine earlier Saturday in three convoys, two of which were decoys. The three convoys took separate routes during the journey to and from Jezzine.

Addressing supporters in Batroun, north Lebanon, later Saturday, Aoun said the incident represented the fourth attempt on his life.

Prior to heading to site, which lies about 1 kilometer from the Bahaeddine Hariri mosque, Haj met authorities at Sidon’s Justice Palace to discuss and review security reports of incidents during the night of the incident.

During his probe of the area, Haj listened to testimonies of residents and workers. Authorities are also conducting a search of nearby, yet-to-be-completed buildings and an orchard as part of their probe.

Prime Minister Najib Mikati, who is in New York, contacted Aoun to check on the condition of the FPM chief following the incident.

"Mikati, after arriving in New York, contacted Change and Reform Bloc leader MP Michel Aoun and congratulated him on his safety after his convoy came under fire [Saturday]," a statement from the prime minister's office said Sunday.

Mikati stressed that "relevant security apparatuses are stepping up their investigation to uncover the circumstance surrounding the incident and that the culprits are pursued."





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