BEIRUT: Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri warned in remarks published Wednesday against exploiting a recent incident in the east of the country that claimed the lives of two Lebanese soldiers.
“Any attempt at inciting [strife] and achieving cheap gains at the expense of the blood of the Lebanese Army martyrs and the people of Arsal should stop,” he told pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat, referring to Friday's ambush by gunmen on Lebanese soldiers seeking a man wanted on several warrants.
Captain Pierre Bashalani, 31 and Sergeant Ibrahim Zahraman, 32, were killed in the attack.
Hariri also said students who visited military positions in Arsal Tuesday reflected the “true position” of the predominantly Sunni Bekaa town.
Schoolchildren from Arsal offered Tuesday flowers and small Lebanese flags to soldiers manning checkpoints on the parameters of Arsal.
Soldiers of the Army’s elite unit are stationed in five main points on the parameters of the eastern town of Arsal and have adopted strict tight measures restricting people’s movement in and out of the area.
Sources familiar with events in Arsal believe Gen. Jean Kahwagi, the Lebanese Army commander, will treat the ambush and the killings by gunmen as a major crime, particularly after describing it as premeditated.
About 500 of Arsal’s residents serve in the Army.