The deadly armed attack in Tripoli has sparked a new war of words between Defense Minister Elias Bou Saab of the Free Patriotic Movement and al-Mustaqbal Movement Secretary-General Ahmed Hariri.
The row started after Bou Saab said Prime Minister Saad Hariri had not called him after the attack.
“PM Saad Hariri did not call me after the security incident and I’m not waiting for him to call me. Perhaps he considers himself to be more concerned with the Internal Security Forces,” Bou Saab said in response to a question during an interview with Radio Sawt El Mada.
“The terrorist operation that was carried out by the terrorist Abdul Rahman Mabsout is still mysterious and ambiguous and we’re before a person who had been jailed on charges of belonging to terrorist organizations,” Bou Saab said.
“I don’t want to talk ahead of the investigations but any political interferences would eventually be exposed in such cases,” the minister added.
He later tweeted that “after looking into a part of the file of the terrorist Abdul Rahman Mabsout,” he has decided to order a probe to determine how he had been “arrested, sentenced and released from prison.”
“We will not let the blood of martyrs go in vain and we will shoulder our responsibility before the Lebanese,” Bou Saab added.
Ahmed Hariri snapped back swiftly, saying the defense minister “does not have the jurisdiction to specify to his boss whom he should talk to.”
“The issue of driving wedges between the army and the ISF is suspicious, and the premier is saying that ‘the army is one eye and the ISF is the other,’ but it seems that someone likes to play ‘the role of the one-eyed,’” Hariri tweeted.
“Grief is in every Lebanese house and not a single Lebanese does not feel that the servicemen’s martyrdom is not a personal loss and that terror is targeting everyone, so there is no need for rejected allusions,” the Mustaqbal secretary general added.
“We as a political party are the first line of moderation and the line of defense for Lebanon’s dignity. Enough with the maneuvers and manipulation,” Hariri went on to say.
Bou Saab and Hariri had engaged in a war of words last week over the Military Court’s controversial acquittal of Lt. Col. Suzanne al-Hajj in the file of fabricating evidence to frame the actor Ziad Itani in a spying for Israel case.
A lone gunman using a motorcycle fired on police and army vehicles in different parts of Tripoli on Monday night, killing two police officers and two soldiers and wounding several others before blowing himself up later when confronted by troops.
The army identified the gunman as Abdul Rahman Mabsout, but gave no other details. LBCI TV said Mabsout was a former member of the Islamic State group who fought with the extremist movement in Syria. It said he had been detained when he returned to Lebanon in 2016 and was released a year later.