Sunday, 15 June 2008

Al-Qeada vs Hizbollah

Abigail Fielding-Smith reports for The Scotsman:

"It's going to be us and al-Qaeda against Hezbollah." Sitting in a disused warehouse in the Bab-al-Tebbaneh district of Tripoli, a Sunni fighter explains how the ad-hoc militia that he helped command in the recent fighting are preparing for the future.

Softly-spoken and courteous, speaking to The Scotsman on condition of anonymity, he pauses to offer cigarettes. "When we hear al-Qaeda are threatening the Shia, we do celebratory gunfire," he says.

When Hezbollah, a Shia party, brandished its power, some of Lebanon's Sunnis felt humiliated. Their Grand Mufti, Qabbani, warned that they had "had enough", bringing fears his words could be interpreted as a signal to fight back.

"After the Mufti's speech, we received funding from rich Sunni individuals," claims the Bab al Tebbaneh fighter. "What happened has pushed us into more co-ordination. We have more contact. We are ready. This is happening all over the country. We have no problem with al-Qaeda coming in, if they want to defend the Sunnis."


Meanwhile according to Deutsche Presse-Agentur, these Sunni fighters are trying to spark a new confrontation with the army:

Lebanese forces detained 12 people on Saturday after gunmen fired at an army patrol near a Palestinian refugee camp in the north of the country, a Lebanese security official said.

The incident took place in Qobbeh, a predominantly Sunni district on the northeastern edge of the port city of Tripoli, the official said.

'Unidentified gunmen fired as the army patrol was passing by, but there were no injuries,' he said. The attack prompted the Lebanese army to increase its presence in the area.

Army posts have been the target of similar attacks in northern Lebanon. On Thursday, the army defused a roadside bomb near a military base north of Tripoli and last month a soldier was killed in a blast at an army intelligence base in Abdeh, also in the north.

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