Lebanese Authorities Want ‘Guarantees’ as Arsal Municipal Chief Promises Good News

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The continued captivity of soldiers and policemen by jihadists is threatening to spiral out of control after their families took escalatory measures and Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq said the authorities would not negotiate with the terrorists unless they provide guarantees that they wouldn’t execute more captives.

“We want absolute guarantees that the abductors will stop killing (more captives) before we discuss anything else,” al-Mashnouq told As Safir daily in remarks published on Tuesday.

“The Lebanese state is confronting murderer terrorists who want to ignite Sunni-Shiite strife,” he said, advising the Lebanese politicians to unite because failing to do so “would serve the killers through chaos and strife.”

The families of the soldiers and police taken captive by the jihadists in the northeastern border town of Arsal in early August blocked two highways on Monday and promised more measures until the release of their loved ones.

Their continued protests have put pressure on the authorities, which are accused of not trying hard enough to win the release of the hostages.

A high-ranking security official confirmed to al-Joumhouria that a committee tasked with following up the case of the captives has conditioned a written pledge by al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State group that they would not harm any of the captives.

Meanwhile, Arsal Municipal chief Ali al-Hujeiri told As Safir that the next few days will witness positive news.

He did not give further details.

His remarks came as the army tightened its grip on roads that link Arsal with its outskirts to stop the supply of oil and equipment to the militants.

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