Christian Hezbollah ally says he was targeted for death
A key Lebanese Christian ally of the Shiite Hezbollah movement, Michel Aoun, said he was targeted by an assassination attempt Saturday night after local media reported his convoy came under fire.
“In my lifetime, I have been the target of three assassination attempts,” the former army chief said on live television, after returning from a political tour of south Lebanon.
“This was the fourth and it failed,” he added.
“Why would they want to kill me? Because I go against the tide,” said Aoun, who was staunchly anti-Syrian during the civil war, but entered into a controversial alliance with the Iran and Syria-backed Hezbollah in 2006.
“For the first three, we found the perpetrators. We have not yet discovered the perpetrators of this attack,” he added.
Aoun leads the Free Patriotic Movement, a largely Christian party, which issued a statement Saturday that its leader’s convoy was shot at on the way back from a political tour. Lebanese media specified that the attack took place in the predominantly Sunni Muslim city of Saida.
Lebanon is deeply divided between a Western-backed opposition, which is led by former-prime minister Saad Hariri and backs the Syrian revolt, and the pro-Damascus ruling coalition, which is led by Hezbollah and includes Aoun.
Christians are split between the two sides.
Aoun has repeatedly voiced fears that a collapse of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would bring extremists to power and take Lebanon’s larger neighbour back to the Middle Ages.
Since the assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri in 2005, there have been a series assassinations of prominent figures in Lebanon, mainly those hostile to the Assad regime.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]