BEIRUT: The attackers of Al-Jadeed TV station and the masked men who subsequently blocked several Beirut roads Monday night are connected to the Hezbollah-linked Resistance Brigades, security sources told The Daily Star Tuesday.
The sources added that three men attempted to raid the headquarters of the Future TV station in the west Beirut area of Spears the same night. The Lebanese Army arrested one of the men who was planning the attack.
Following the arrest of Wissam Alaaeddine, suspected of involvement in the attack on Al-Jadeed, groups of masked men closed several main Beirut roads with burning tires.
The sources said the closing of roads was done in a systematic manner after media reports that the Army would conduct raids in the Beirut areas of Khandaq al-Ghamiq and Zqaq al-Blat, where the attackers on Al-Jadeed are believed to have taken refuge.
The masked men closed all the roads that led to the two areas in a bid to prevent the Army from entering, the sources added.
According to the sources, the same car, a Jeep Cherokee, which transported the men who attacked the Al-Jadeed premises, also transported the men who set tires ablaze in Verdun.
The issue of security is set to top the agenda of a Cabinet meeting Wednesday following the Beirut violence.
The situation posed particular a challenge for Interior Minister Marwan Charbel, who was planning to launch a monthlong campaign to bolster security in the country starting Wednesday.
Prime Minister Najib Mikati discussed the security incidents and the government’s plan to beef up safety measures during a meeting with Speaker Nabih Berri at the latter’s residence in Ain al-Tineh.
The plan calls for the Army and Internal Security Forces personnel to man checkpoints on main roads, increase their patrols day and night and carry out raids in search of wanted people.
“Some call it a security month, but security is not a seasonal matter. Security should be durable. Therefore, this month will be a test for us to follow at all times,” Mikati said.The attack on Al-Jadeed TV came a day after the station hosted Sidon-based controversial preacher Sheikh Ahmad Assir who harshly criticized Berri and Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah, warning them that he would “not let them sleep for now on,” because of the injustice inflicted on the country’s Sunnis. Assir’s remarks prompted the station to apologize for the interview after it had been aired.
Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri condemned the attack on Al-Jadeed. “What happened [Monday] shows that the only solution lies in the rule of law,” he said in a statement on Twitter.
Hariri’s parliamentary Future bloc also condemned the attack on Al-Jadeed as “a cowardly act” and blamed Hezbollah’s arms for insecurity in Beirut.
“The causes of what happened in Beirut’s streets are clear. It is a phenomenon of the proliferation of illegitimate arms which is being sponsored, protected and supervised by Hezbollah’s arms,” the bloc said in a statement following its weekly meeting Tuesday.
In what appeared to be an indirect criticism of Assir’s sectarian tone, the bloc said: “The use of sectarian and confessional language and terms by any party is rejected and condemned.
“Our country needs a calm and uniting language rather than [one that] attacks, slanders, provokes and incites.”
Judicial sources told The Daily Star that the ISF’s Information Branch was conducting investigations into the attack under the supervision of the Public Prosecution and added that Public Prosecutor Saeed Mirza was directly following up on the probe.