Lebanon News

Nusra threatens to kill second Lebanese soldier

Soldier Ali al-Bazzal pleads with Hezbollah to withdraw from Syria and spare his life in a video released by Nusra Front. (The Daily Star)

BEIRUT: A Lebanese policeman pled for his life as he watched a fellow captive be executed with a gunshot to the head, in a video released by Nusra Front Saturday.

The video showed soldier Mohammad Hammieh asking the Lebanese to put an end to Hezbollah's attacks on the Sunni community moments before a man, dressed in black, shot him in the head in the presence of Ali al-Bazzal, a captive policemen.

Bazzal, wearing a white t-shirt and his military pants, begged Hezbollah to change its policy.

"If you don't stop attacking and inciting against our Sunni brethren then I will follow my fellow soldier who was killed right there," Bazzal cried out with his hands tied as he knelt in front of a tree with Hammieh lying dead beside him.

Sobbing and crying, Bazzal asked "the party of the devil" to withdraw from Syria and go back to fighting Israel.

According to Lebanese media reports, the radical group said it would hand over the body of Hammieh in exchange for 15 detainees held in Roumieh Prison.

Nusra Front said that Hammieh was "the one who paid the price" for Hezbollah's attempts to obstruct negotiations as well as the Lebanese Army's arrest of "civilians and shelling of Qalamoun."

The statement, which was circulated on social media, also warned that the radical group was preparing to execute Bazzal.

The execution came after a roadside bomb attack Friday against Lebanese troops in Arsal that killed two soldiers, which prompted the military to launch raids in search of gunmen. Media reports said that some 200 people were arrested in the Army raids.

The Nusra Front first threatened to kill Hammieh Tuesday, saying that he might be the first “to pay the price” of failed negotiations with the Lebanese government and Hezbollah’s continued crackdown on Syrian refugees in Arsal and along the town’s borders.

The government has been engaged in indirect negotiations through a Qatari-sponsored mediation with militants over the release of the abducted security personnel.

Nusra Front and ISIS are both demanding the release of Islamist prisoners from Roumieh Prison in exchange for the Lebanese hostages. They are holding at least 22 soldiers and policemen captured during last month's clashes between radical militants and the Lebanese Army in the northeastern region of Arsal.

While Nusra has released seven policemen as a sign of goodwill, ISIS has beheaded two soldiers.

 

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