Hundreds of Lebanese Army personnel combed Saturday hills northwest of Maarab, Kesrouan, as part of investigations to identify the perpetrators of Wednesday’s attempted assassination of Lebanese Forces head Samir Geagea.
With the help of search dogs, over 500 army personnel took to the hills of Dlebta, over 1 kilometer southwest of the LF headquarters, where the shooters behind Wednesday’s abortive attempt to assassinate Geagea had positioned themselves for the hit.
Meanwhile, President Michel Sleiman met with Justice Minister Shakib Qortbawi, General Prosecutor Saeed Mirza and ISF head Maj. Gen. Ashraf Rifi to follow up on the investigation.
According to Sleiman’s press office, the president stressed the need to intensify efforts and the investigation to reveal identity of the culprits and bring them to justice.
On Wednesday, Geagea said he had escaped an assassination attempt when a sniper fired at Maarab, which also serves as his residence, warning that the political killings of the last decade had not ended.
He added that the incident had required expertise, claiming that the shots had been fired a few kilometers from the target site.
Preliminary information indicates that two 12.7-mm caliber bullets, from two separate rifles, were fired simultaneously during the operation from a position overlooking the Maarab compound following a surveillance operation.
Wednesday’s incident has heightened fears of a return to a wave of political assassinations.
U.K. Ambassador to Lebanon Tom Fletcher said Saturday that Prime Minister Najib Mikati had reassured him that a full investigation into the case was under way.
“Strong reassurance from PM Najib Mikati in our meeting that full investigation underway into assassination attempt against [Geagea],” Fletcher said on his Twitter feed following his meeting with the prime minister at the Grand Serail in Beirut.
The Hezbollah-led March 8 parties’ reaction to the assassination attempt has been largely muted or outright skeptical.
Breaking the silence, Change and Reform parliament bloc MP Ghassan Moukheiber denounced the botched attack on Geagea and called for the arrest of the culprits.
Moukheiber said there was no doubting the incident was a genuine attempt to target the LF leader, saying Interior Minister Marwan Charbel had validated the nature of the attack.
Speaking to Free Lebanon Radio station Saturday, Moukheiber also said many of the country’s leading political officials were concerned for their safety.
He also warned that any assassination could destabilize the country.
“There is a danger to the stability of the country which could explode with any assassination. Therefore, it is important to fortify Lebanon from what is taking place in Syria through a policy of neutrality and not back either the Syrian regime or the Syrian opposition.”
Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Politics/2012/Apr-07/169558-lebanese-army-combs-snipers-hill-near-geagea-residence.ashx#ixzz1rN5Q8ctI
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)
Take into account the last few years worth of military action and the strategy outlined by Wesley Clark in 2007 (video below) is playing out just as planned....was this to be the next step?.