Lebanon vows to restore security after deadly shootout

  01 July 2019    Read: 1000
Lebanon vows to restore security after deadly shootout

The Lebanese government vowed on Monday to restore security to an area of a deadly shooting that has stirred fear of renewed strife on Mount Lebanon, one of the bloodiest theaters of the 1975-90 civil war.

Two aides of government minister Saleh al-Gharib, the state minister for refugee affairs, were killed on Sunday in the incident in the Aley region in what he termed an attempted assassination.

Lebanon’s Supreme Defence Council, which includes the president and security chiefs, said it had taken “decisive” measures to restore security to the area and bring to justice those involved to “bury strife” and “safeguard” the state.

The incident spiraled as supporters of Walid Jumblatt, Lebanon’s main Druze leader, protested against a planned visit to the area by Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, a Maronite Christian and Jumblatt adversary who ultimately canceled the visit.

Gharib, a Druze politician, is politically aligned with Bassil and backed by Jumblatt’s rival Talal Arslan.

Jumblatt’s Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) has accused Gharib’s bodyguards of opening fire on the protesters, leading to an exchange of fire in which two PSP supporters were also wounded.

Arslan, in a televised news conference, said the state must act. “If the state does not strike with an iron fist there will be negative repercussions in more than one area,” he said.

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