Nusra Front Threat to Kill More Lebanese Soldiers

Nusra Front Threat to Kill More Lebanese Soldiers
Sun Dec 7, 2014 17:15:05

Al-Qaeda affiliate's warning comes day after it announced execution of policeman, stirring protests by supporters.

Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda-affiliate that is among the armed Sunni groups engaged in Syria's conflict, has threatened to kill two more Lebanese soldiers unless the wives of some of its commanders are released from detention.The threat comes a day after the group killed a young Lebanese police officer it was holding captive.

In a statement to local media, Nohad Machnouk, Lebanese interior minister, said publicising the arrests of the female detainees was a mistake. Machnouk said their arrests "will draw the attention of international organisations and religious figures to us, especially since we do have proof that the detainees were planning an operation.

Pinpointing military and humanitarian aid from nations in the international struggle against the armed group. "Their contact with terrorists is not something that a case can be built on".

Lebanon is experiencing a spillover of the nearly four years of violence that has gripped neighbouring Syria.Fighters and protesters took to the streets on Saturday after Nusra Front said it killed a captured a Lebanese policeman it named as Ali al-Bazzal, to avenge the arrest of family members of fighters.

Relatives of another 25 troops and policemen being held hostage cut off several roads in Beirut and elsewhere in Lebanon, demanding the government work for their immediate release.

Bazzal was the fourth hostage reportedly killed by their captors from the 30 troops and policemen kidnapped in August, after a major battle in Arsal in eastern Lebanon on the border with Syria.

A fifth soldier died from wounds he suffered during the Arsal battle four days into the hostage crisis.None of the dead troops' bodies has been handed over to Lebanese authorities, said the government source.

Today in a separated incident, Lebanese gunmen opened fire on and burned Syrian refugee tents in north Lebanon, wounding two refugees, security sources said on Sunday, two days after a Lebanese soldier was killed by Syrian militants to countrywide outrage, REUTERS reports.

Lebanon has the highest per capita concentration of refugees in the world, with one in four residents a refugee, many of them living in the poorest areas.

Resentment against Syrian refugees has grown amid accusations that the displaced population is hiding militants in tented settlements to stage attacks on the Lebanese army.

The security sources said that the gunmen had not been identified but that they were young men from the northern Lebanese town of Mashha in Akkar province, where the attack took place.

Some Lebanese complain that refugees are taking jobs, driving down wages, overloading schools and hospitals. The government has said it cannot cope with the influx and has asked for funds to help look after them.

Around 1.1 million Syrians have fled to Lebanon, according to the United Nations.

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