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“Sowers of discord”: Nasrallah attacks Lebanese Christians after the assassination of a member of the Lebanese Forces

More than 30 years after the end of the civil war which bloodied Lebanon, peace hangs by a thread.

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“Sowers of discord”: Nasrallah attacks Lebanese Christians after the assassination of a member of the Lebanese Forces

More than 30 years after the end of the civil war which bloodied Lebanon, peace hangs by a thread. This Monday, the leader of Lebanese Hezbollah appeared threatening: “We have taken a very, very, very dangerous step,” declared Hassan Nasrallah, addressing “all Lebanese” and “especially Christians.”

On Sunday, an official of the Christian party of the Lebanese Forces (FL) was killed, his body was found in Syria. The affair caused a stir in Lebanon where the powerful Christian party denounced “a political assassination until proven otherwise” without explicitly mentioning Hezbollah, while the Christian party of the Lebanese Phalanges evokes on its social networks the “martyr » of the Lebanese Forces officer who was killed, Pascal Sleiman.

On Monday evening, roads were blocked around Byblos, the town where the politician was stationed. This provoked the reaction of the leader of the Shiite party Hassan Nasrallah who accused the Christian party of the Lebanese Forces as well as that of the Lebanese Phalanges of being “sowers of discord” and of “seeking civil war”. Hassan Nasrallah also denied in his speech any link with the assassination of Pascal Sleiman.

According to the first results of the investigation communicated by the Lebanese army, this official of the Lebanese Forces in Byblos was killed by members of a “gang” who tried to “steal his car”. Seven Syrians were notably arrested, including three handed over by the Syrian authorities to the Lebanese security services. A judicial source told AFP that “the confessions agreed on the fact that the sole motive for the crime was theft.”

According to this source, the suspects “confessed to having hit the victim in the face and head with the butts of their revolvers so that he would stop resisting, then placed him in the trunk of the car” and taken to Syria where they found out he died. A military source indicated that the body was found in Syria, and that the criminals were part of a gang specializing in car theft in Lebanon. The remains were repatriated this morning through the Qaa border post in the north of the country.

“I don’t believe in the versions [so far] put forward. [The alleged attackers] did not ask for a ransom. They took my husband... but not the car: how can it be car theft?", however opposed Micheline Sleiman to L'Orient-Le Jour, the widow of the assassinated FL executive, relaying the doubts expressed in within the Lebanese Forces.

“I don't trust anyone, neither in the security services, nor in the supervisory ministers,” said Pierre Bou Assi, deputy of the Christian party, on of a former official of the same party in southern Lebanon in August 2023.

Historically opposed to the Lebanese Forces, the Free Patriotic Current (CPL), a Christian party more conciliatory with Hezbollah, for its part called “not to give in to sedition”, as also reported by L’Orient-Le Jour. “The involvement of Syrians in this crime highlights the dangers linked to mass immigration,” the movement also declared. Lebanon hosts some two million Syrians, refugees who fled the civil war that broke out in their country in 2011.

Prime Minister Najib Mikati, for his part, condemned the murder and called on the Lebanese to “show wisdom and not be carried away by rumors and emotions”.

“The best way to honor his memory is to reject the civil war and build a new Lebanon where the rule of law, an independent judicial system and strong state institutions will leave no crime unpunished,” commented for his part on X Karim Emile Bitar, political scientist and researcher at Saint Joseph University in Beirut.

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