Last updated: 6 July, 2012

Lebanon demonstration after murder of a Sunni cleric

Dozens of youths cut off the main highway in northern Lebanon on Friday to protest the release of army officers questioned over the killing of a prominent Sunni Muslim cleric in May, a security source said.

“Dozens of youth gathered on the international highway that links the coastal city of Tripoli to the northern province of Akkar and the northern border with Syria,” the security official told AFP.

They cut the roads after several officers, who had been questioned after the fatal shooting of cleric Ahmad Abdel Wahed, were released on Thursday.

Along with another cleric, Abdel Wahed was killed in an incident in Koueikhat town, in the Akkar region.

The youths burned tyres and used sandbags to cut off the main highway and several smaller roads across Akkar, the source said, adding that several villages in the region became completely isolated.

On Thursday evening, other groups cut off several roads in the province, the official said, adding that some of the men involved in the northern village of Al-Bireh were armed and that heavy gunfire was heard during the night.

Abdel Wahed was born in Al-Bireh and was vocally opposed to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in neighbouring Syria.

On Friday, the atmosphere in Tripoli was quiet but tense, and Prime Minister Najib Mikati appealed for calm in Akkar.

The coastal city has been scene of frequent clashes between pro- and anti-Assad militiamen ever since the uprising in Syria broke out.