Lebanon Death Toll Rising As EU Fears For Stability


Clashes between armed Sunni and Alawite groups have killed four people and wounded 15 in the Lebanese city of Tripoli, while calm returned to Beirut on Tuesday. Since the assassination of General Wissam al-Hassan on October 19, violence between Sunni residents of Bab al Tabbaneh and those of neighboring Alawite Jebel Mohsen in Tripoli, left at least 10 people dead and 65 wounded.

Meanwhile, the head of the European union diplomacy Catherine Ashton on Tuesday expressed in Beirut her concern for Lebanon’s stability, after Friday’s assassination. She urged the country’s leaders to avoid “political vacuum”.

“This attack is a terrible thing, we are concerned about the stability of Lebanon,” said Ashton after meeting Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati, in remarks published by the National News Agency (NNA).

The assassination raised fears of renewed clashes in Lebanon, already divided between supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. “Some are trying to divert attention from the situation in the region by causing problems in Lebanon,” Ashton said in an apparent reference to the conflict in Syria.

Meanwhile, Lebanese opposition MPs said they had received sms threats sent from a Syrian number before and after the assassination on 19th October. “The day before the attack, we received an sms from a Syrian number who said ‘son of a …, we will have you one by one,” said MP Ammar Houry, a member of the parliamentary group led by former Pm Saad Hariri. He said four of his colleagues had also received a similar sms.

“After the assassination, I received a second SMS saying ‘Mabrouk (Congratulations in Arabic), the countdown has begun, one in ten eliminated. It turned out that the number from which the messages were sent is Syria, “he said.

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