Lebanese Government Mobilizes Efforts as Rage Reins over Soldier’s Beheading

medlej_father“Martyr Abbas Medlej is a martyr of all Lebanon,” with these words Abbas’ father, Ali, received mourners who came to pay their condolences at the home of the slain Lebanese soldier’s brother in Ansar, Baalbek.Abbas Medlej’s father

The bereaved father, who was also a soldier in the Lebanese Army, asked the leadership of the Army to call him up so that he can serve in the place of the martyr Abbas, comparing his son to the martyr Ali Sayyed, the first Lebanese Army soldier to be beheaded by ISIL terrorists.

The soldiers were kidnapped along with dozens others during clashes in Arsal between the Lebanese Army and terrorists from Al-Nusra Front and ‘ISIL’.

The Medlej family appealed for calm Sunday following rage attacks and streets blocking after news spread of the soldier’s beheading.

Sheikh YazbekA delegation from Hezbollah led by Industry Minister Hussein Hajj Hasan and Sheikh Mohammad Yazbek called for everyone to support the Army, and expressed hope the state would continue to work for the release of all hostages.

Sheikh Yazbek said that despite all wound and heart bleedings on what happened, “we hope that the State would continue to work for the release of all army soldiers,” adding that if ISIL plans for sedition in the country Hezbollah will extinguish it and refrain from attacking any of the displaced Syrians. “It is not in keeping with our values to attack others, and we are not helpless in the face of those who oppress us,” he added.

The government has insisted on rejecting any demand to swap Roumieh Prison ‘Islamist inmates’ with Arsal captives and Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi considered that putting ‘Islamist inmates’ on trial is a “national and humanitarian” demand.

The minister denied that the trials were put at the forefront due to the pressing demands by the terrorist gunmen, revealing that the Judicial Council upped its efforts to wrap up the matter. “This is not accurate,” Rifi said in comments published in al-Joumhouria newspaper. He said that sentences were issued in 22 cases out of 37.

ministirial meetingContacts were ongoing between the government and the Hezbollah leadership in order to contain the tensions on the street in light of the demonstrations staged in protest against the murder of soldier Abbas.

“The contacts are ongoing with Hezbollah and on all fronts,” Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq he told As Safir newspaper. “The contacts focused on averting strife because that is the abductors’ goal,” added Mashnouq.

The talks were carried out by Prime Minister Tammam Salam and Mashnouq on the one hand and Hussein Khalil, Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s aide, and Wafiq Safa, the party’s liaison and coordination officer, on the other hand, said the daily.

The prime minister said Sunday that Lebanon has “several options” to free its captured soldiers, warning that the terrorist captors were seeking to incite sectarian strife in the country.

Speaking in a televised speech to the Lebanese Sunday night, Salam stressed that national unity was crucial to defeat terrorist groups threatening the country’s security and stability, and to prevent sectarian strife. “They are negotiating with us with blood because they are barbarian. They have no religion and they understand only the language of slaughter because they believe that it will help them attain their objectives.”

Earlier Sunday, Salam chaired a meeting of a ministerial committee tasked with overseeing the hostage crisis following the beheading of Medlej. The committee expressed its condolences to Medlej’s family, lauding them for their “national stand” and decided to pursue contacts with political and security leaders to deal with the issue of the kidnapped soldiers.

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