Armed clashes erupted in the Southern city of Sidon in Lebanon between supporters of the controversial Salafist Sheikh, Ahmad Al-Asir, and the Popular Nasserite Organization killing and injuring several people, including a Hezbollah official who was injured while attempting to calm the situation down.
As a result of the fatal clashes, Lebanese Prime Minister, “Muhammad Najib Miqati”, who condemned the sectarian violence was prompted to call for an urgent security meeting among South Lebanon’s Security Council and Lebanon’s Interior Minister.
The clashes first begun when the Salafist Sheikh had opposed the raising of banners related to “Martyrs’ Day”, a day which glorifies Lebanese martyrs who were killed by the Israeli war , and banners related to the shia community’s mourning of the Martyrdom of the Shia Imam, Imam Hosssein during Ashura- the 10th day of Muharram in the Islamic calendar.
Despite the resistance movement’s ordering the removal of the banners answering the call of Lebanon’s Interior Minister, “Marwan Charbel”, to contain the matter, the Salafist Sheikh led his heavily armed supporters in attempting to remove a resistance monument by force and attacked a neighborhood known to be inhabited by shia families.
Later in the afternoon, “Al-Asir’s”, supporters were reported to have attacked the widow of a former Lebanese MP and founder of the Popular Naserite Organization beating her bodyguard brutally. They were also reported to have held Lebanese officers at gunpoint in a separate occasion on the same day. In response, the Lebanese Army has cordoned off the Mosque in which Sheikh Al-Asir is known to be the Imam, declaring that it will fight back with fire against any armed attack.
Cautious calm amid heavy deployment of security forces and checkpoints at every corner are witnessed in the southern city of Sidon after the new wave of violence which has swept through the city harvesting lives. With tensions running high and widespread or illegal arms, security officials have warned that they will be striking with an iron fist against whoever puts the country’s security in jeopardy and attempts to cause strife. Continue reading