BEIRUT: A Lebanese soldier accidentally shot himself in the leg at the entrance of Rafic Hariri International Airport in Beirut yesterday, causing panic among travellers.
The soldier, called Haitham, was taken to the hospital for treatment, and he may be punished for his mistake, according to a security source.
Meanwhile security leaders revealed at last week’s meeting of Lebanon’s Supreme Defense Council that there are growing fears of assassinations in Lebanon.
Former Minister of the Interior Maj. Gen. Ashraf Rifi spoke of “two security risks threatening Lebanon as a result of the abnormal political, economic and security situation.”
He told Arab News: “There is a fear of chaos if the subsidy on basic materials is lifted, and it seems that we are heading in this direction.”
He expressed his fear of a “terrorist turmoil,” saying: “There are two projects in the region, an Iranian project and a Western one, in addition to assassinations and attacks on institutions. Daesh and the Syrian Guard are two sides of the same coin. Hezbollah is not far from terrorism either. It was behind the death of Rafik Hariri, Maj. Gen. Wissam Al-Hassan, Wissam Eid and others who were killed by car bombs. Hezbollah has a criminal history and the time of being afraid to talk about it over.”
The general-director of Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces, Gen. Imad Othman, said in a statement that “politicians must make a great effort to secure political stability, which will affect the stability of the economic situation. This requires the formation of a new government to save the country from the many crises it is facing.”
Hezbollah is not far from terrorism either. It was behind the death of Rafik Hariri, Maj. Gen. Wissam Al-Hassan, Wissam Eid and others who were killed by car bombs. Hezbollah has a criminal history.
Maj. Gen. Ashraf Rifi, Ex-Lebanese minister
He spoke about a fundamental problem related to the structure of the security forces, explaining: “We have been calling for the recruitment of new blood for the past two years, due to the shortage and the continuous fall in the number of security forces. Nearly 800 to 1,000 members have retired. How long will we be able to bear the burdens of Lebanon’s security and protect its people, when our numbers are diminishing year after year?”
Internal Security Forces members are still pursuing the detainees who escaped from Baabda’s Justice Palace’s detention center about two weeks ago. Maj. Gen. Othman said: “Some of the detainees are experts in theft and were able to pick the door lock with a nail in a professional manner. We were able to recapture 42 of the escapees and are continuing to pursue the remaining 22.”
Five of the detainees died in a car accident while fleeing.
The stalemate surrounding the formation of a government and the increased talk about removing subsidies on basic materials triggered a response from the religious authorities this weekend. Maronite Patriarch, Bechara Al-Rai asked during the Sunday sermon: “Where are our political leaders’ virtues of mercy, justice and fairness?”
He continued: “The most dangerous thing we are facing today is that the world no longer considers Lebanon as a state, and in return deals with the Lebanese as distressed people to whom relief is distributed. The poverty rate has increased from 28 percent to 55 percent within a year, and the closing statement of the Second International Conference in Support of Lebanon avoided mentioning the word Lebanese state. The formation of an exceptional emergency government outside of the political and partisan system is required.”
Greek Orthodox Archbishop, Elias Audi, said: “Our country’s leaders have turned everyone into the needy and have made everyone suffer. The world has lost confidence in Lebanon due to the corruption of its leaders and their evasion of accountability. What’s left of the country must be liberated from the grip of politicians, who have mismanaged it, and lack responsibility.”