Lebanon News

Officials slam attack on Lebanese minister's convoy

Prime Minister Najib Mikati, right, hugs Youth and Sports Minister Faisal Karami at his residence in Tripoli, Friday, Jan. 18, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: Lebanese officials slammed Friday an incident in north Lebanon which saw an assault by protesters on the convoy of Tripoli MP Faisal Karami that left 11 people wounded.

“A mere condemnation is not enough because God saved Tripoli from this dangerous crossroads," Prime Minister Najib Mikati said, according to his press office.

In the statement, Mikati also said that the attack on Karami was aimed at "targeting Tripoli, its security, stability and an attempt to incite an internal strife in the city.”

Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the leader of the opposition March 14 movement, described the day’s events in the north as a “despicable attempt to lure the city of Tripoli to instability once again.”

According to his office, Hariri contacted Karami in a telephone call.

His office also quoted him as calling on the city's residents and figures to look out for “such attempts and preserve national security as well as cooperate with security and judicial forces to put an end to such incidents. “

Meanwhile, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri along with President Michel Sleiman phoned Karami and condemned the incident.

Future parliamentary bloc leader MP Fouad Siniora also denounced the attack on the young lawmaker.

Siniora contacted Karami and his father, former Prime Minister Omar Karami, to discuss the incident.

Earlier, the youth and sports minister said he survived an assassination attempt on his life after protesters in the northern city of Tripoli opened fire on his convoy near Nour Square.

The protesters were heading to the square to participate in a sit-in aimed at voicing solidarity with Islamist detainees suspected of fighting against the Army during the 2007 Nahr AL-Bared battle in a Palestinian refugee camp.

Four people were wounded as a result of armed clashes that ensued.

During a news conference later in the day, former Prime Minister Omar Karami said the incident was a mistake on the part of the gunmen and said the family would not press charges in the case.

Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi also slammed the assault and affirmed “his support to the Army and security forces in their measures to arrest the perpetrators and confiscate illegal arms present at a protest that was supposed to be a peaceful one."

In a statement released by his office, Safadi also warned against attempts to exploit the issue of the Islamist inmates to target security and stability in his hometown of Tripoli.

"[I] fear that there is a malicious plan to involve Tripoli in strife," he said.

Hezbollah said the targeting of Karami was a “vicious act.”

“The aim of such criminal practices is to risk civil peace and stability in Tripoli and ignite conflicts among its residents which should be strongly opposed by everyone,” Hezbollah’s media office said in a statement.

The resistance group also called on security forces and concerned authorities to carry out their job to the fullest in order to identify the attackers and bring them to justice.

“Hezbollah calls on wise people in the city of Tripoli to exert all efforts to prevent the implementation of projects aimed at inciting strife,” the statement added.





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