Pro-Hezbollah Sunni Sheikh assassinated, Nasrallah condemns killing

Pro-Hezbollah Sunni Sheikh assassinated, Nasrallah condemns killing
Wed Nov 13, 2013 07:58:22

A pro-Hezbollah Sunni Sheikh has been shot and killed by a masked gunman in the northern city of Tripoli, security sources say.

A security source told The Daily Star that one of two gunmen on a motorcycle shot Sheikh Saadeddine Ghiyyeh in the head, neck, shoulder and chest.

Ghiyyeh was transferred to Sayidet al-Hayat Hospital in Zghorta where he died later of his wounds, a source at the hospital told The Daily Star.

The security source said the gunman shot Ghiyyeh at close range as he attempted to get into his car parked outside his house in Buhsa, Tripoli.

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah condemned the killing of Ghiyyeh, saying the act targeted the path of the resistance.

“This targets everyone who has the courage to express a view that is different than the ideas of the takfiri groups of Lebanon and the region,” Nasrallah said, addressing via video link a gathering of supporters in the Beirut southern suburbs marking Ashura.

Nasrallah voiced surprise that some political groups in Lebanon ignored the crime. “This assassination is a dangerous indicator and proof of the ominous path events are taking in Tripoli, in particular, and Lebanon in general, ” Nasrallah said.

The Hezbollah leader called on the state to deal with the assassination of Ghiyyeh just as it dealt with explosions which rocked the Beirut southern suburbs and Tripoli in July and August.

Hezbollah condemned the killing and said such a murder was only a product of the rising sectarian rhetoric in the country particularly in Tripoli.

“The city of Tripoli witnessed this morning a brutal crime against [the sheikh] ... who spent his life defending the resistance choice and an advocate of Muslim unity against fragmentation and extremism,” the party said in a statement.

“Hezbollah ... sees that this heinous act is a natural result of the inflammatory speech by some sides in Tripoli and other areas which is pushing the country toward a tense atmosphere,” it added.

The party also urged the judiciary to swiftly search for and punish the perpetrators so that their punishment could set an example for others, adding that their penalty “could prevent strife among the Lebanese.”

Ghiyyeh is an official in the Islamic Action Front and is close to Sheikh Hashem Minqara, a local preacher in Tripoli who is pro-Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Ghiyyeh escaped an assassination attempt earlier this year.

Minqara condemned Ghiyyeh's killing and called on the government to "uncover the criminals so that they get maximum punishment."

"The state should put an end to the deteriorating and unprecedented security situation before it's too late,” Minqara said in a televised news conference, reading a statement by the Islamic Tawheed Party.

"Who will stop this madness in Tripoli?” he asked.

Minqara also said that Tuesday’s killing was the result of fiery speeches by political and religious figures, saying: “I hope everyone recognizes the danger of this critical phase.”

“What happened [to the Sheikh] ... will happen to everyone whether they are proponents or opponents [of Assad],” he added.

Sporadic clashes between supporters and opponents of the Syrian government have plagued the northern city on several occasions since the crisis in Syria began in March of 2011 with the most recent fighting killing at least 16 and wounding over 100.

The Lebanese government has started implementing the first phase of a security plan in Tripoli to restore order and preserve security with the Lebanese Army setting up checkpoints and heavily deploying in Lebanon's second largest city.


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