Leading Lebanese TV station attacked in Beirut

Jun 26, 2012, 3:34 PM

Associated Press

BEIRUT (AP) – Masked men attacked the headquarters of a leading Lebanese TV station with burning tires after it hosted a hard-line Sunni Muslim cleric who harshly criticized the country’s Shiite Muslim leaders, police said Tuesday.

Video footage of the Monday night attack taken by security cameras and broadcast on local television showed five masked figures assaulting the headquarters of Al-Jadeed TV in Beirut.

The attackers also fired several shots at the building, police said, leaving it damaged only lightly and causing no casualties. The police officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to release the information, believe the attack came in response to the secular channel’s interview with Sunni cleric Sheik Ahmad al-Aseer. One suspect was in custody, they added.

Ibrahim Dsouki, who runs the station’s website, said it had been knocked out of service for several hours due to another, online attack.

The incident comes at a time of rising tensions between Lebanon’s Sunni and Shiite communities, exacerbated by the uprising in Syria. Many Shiites in Lebanon support the regime of President Bashar Assad, who is a member of the Alawite sect, an off-shoot of Shiite Islam. Many Sunnis on the other hand oppose Assad and support the predominantly Sunni Syrian opposition.

Guards at the television station detained the suspect, whose pants caught fire during the attack, and handed him over to police, police said.

The man’s detention sparked an angry protest in the central neighborhood of Zoqaq Blat, where dozens rallied in his support, blocking roads and burning tires.

Soldiers later re-opened the roads and conducted raids in the quarter, where the suspect lives, in search of accomplices.

Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said the detainee was a known trouble maker and was previously convicted.

In Al-Jadeed’s broadcast on Sunday, al-Aseer, one of Lebanon’s most outspoken Sunnis, leveled harsh criticism at the country’s most powerful Shiite figures _ Sheik Hassan Nasrallah of Islamic militant group Hezbollah, and parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, who heads the Amal movement.

Al-Aseer accused Shiites of taking control of the country and being behind the brief detention of a notable Sunni cleric along with his wife and child last week.

“I swear to God I will make you pay a high price,” al-Aseer said in response to the incident, in comments directed at Nasrallah. Al-Aseer is also a harsh critic of the Syrian president, having organized a large demonstration earlier this year in support of the country’s uprising.

Amal denied reports the arson suspect in custody was a member of the movement.

Hours after the interview with al-Aseer was aired on Sunday, Al-Jadeed said his statements did not reflect the views of the station.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

World News

People search a collapsed building following an earthquake in Azmarin town, Idlib province, norther...
Associated Press

Death toll soars after powerful earthquake rocks Turkey and Syria

A powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked wide swaths of Turkey and neighboring Syria on Monday, killing and injuring thousands of people.
1 day ago
FILE - A fuel trucks drives along a highway in Frankfurt, Germany, Jan. 27, 2023. European Union go...
Associated Press

Europe bans Russian diesel, other oil products over Ukraine

The new sanctions create uncertainty about prices as the 27-nation European Union finds new supplies of diesel from the U.S., Middle East and India.
2 days ago
(Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for BoF VOICES)...
Associated Press

Vivienne Westwood, influential fashion maverick, dies at 81

Vivienne Westwood, an influential fashion maverick who played a key role in the punk movement, died Thursday at 81.
1 month ago
FILE - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during his first Cabinet meeting flanked by his ...
Associated Press

Rishi Sunak: UK’s ex-Treasury chief gets his shot at PM job

LONDON (AP) — Rishi Sunak ran for Britain’s top job and lost. Then he got another shot — and the chance to say “I told you so.” The former U.K. Treasury chief was runner-up to Liz Truss in the contest to replace the scandal-plagued Boris Johnson as Conservative Party leader and prime minister. But Truss […]
4 months ago
Britain's Prime Minister Liz Truss addresses the media in Downing Street in London, Thursday, Oct. ...
Associated Press

Truss quits, but UK’s political and economic turmoil persist

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Liz Truss quit Thursday after a tumultuous and historically brief term marred by economic policies that roiled financial markets and a rebellion in her political party that obliterated her authority. After just 45 days in office, Truss became the third Conservative prime minister to be toppled in as many […]
4 months ago
People receive medical treatment at the scene of Russian shelling, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, Oct. 1...
Associated Press

Russia unleashes biggest attacks in Ukraine in months

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia retaliated Monday for an attack on a critical bridge by unleashing its most widespread strikes against Ukraine in months, a lethal barrage that smashed civilian targets, knocked out power and water, shattered buildings and killed at least 14 people. Ukraine’s Emergency Service said nearly 100 people were wounded in the […]
4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Company looking for oldest air conditioner and wants to reward homeowner with new one

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
Leading Lebanese TV station attacked in Beirut