Clashes Erupt as Army Raids Brital Outskirts in Search of Hostage

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Clashes broke out on Tuesday between the army and wanted suspects on the outskirts of the Bekaa town of Brital, reported MTV.

LBCI television said that the clashes erupted as the army was searching for a hostage kidnapped from the nearby town of Saadnayel.

It identified the captive as Ayman Sawwan, who was kidnapped on Monday afternoon in the Bekaa city of Baalbek for unknown motives.

The army arrested a number of members from the Masri and Tleis families during the raid.

The abduction sparked unrest in Sawwan’s hometown of Saadnayel and prompted its residents to kidnap seven public van drivers in retaliation.

The army had raided Brital on Monday in search of the captive.

The seven drivers were released on Monday as goodwill gesture towards the Sawwan’s kidnappers.

Later on Tuesday, Sawwan’s brother Khaled held a press conference to push the government to take efforts to release his loved one.

He stressed: “The residents of Saadnayel do not seek to create trouble. We will stage peaceful rallies to show that no one can meddle with its residents.”

“Everyone seeks the release of Ayman Sawwan. He has nothing to do with the sides that kidnapped him,” he added.

A cleric at the conference warned of the eruption of strife over the abduction, urging the state to take action “immediately before the situation gets out of hand.”

“We have long sought for the authority of the state, but it seems that it does not have the power to meet our demands,” he lamented.

He asserted the residents’ rights to stage peaceful rallies to pressure the government to take action and resolve the case.

“We would not have reached this stage had the government taken a firm stand against the outlaws,” he stated.

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