News from Beirut April 8  1998 ...Search

Prisoners rebel in Roumieh Jail

Prisoners at the Roumieh Jail today continued their rebellion demanding to be granted general pardon. About 1600 inmates broke glass and burnt some possessions to object their situation. Judicial officials at the prison say this is the strongest riot ever witnessed in the country. Four injuries were reported up to now including the director of the jail, Monzer Al-Ayoubi. This afternoon, Interior Minister Michel Al-Murr accompanied by the government's commissioner at the Military Court Judge Nasri Lahhoud arrived at the scene. Murr first held a meeting with security officials at the prison who updated him on the latest developments. Murr later called on the prisoners to stop the riot in order to reach a compromise to negotiate their demands. Immediately, the prisoners formed a committee of eight sentenced to negotiate with the interior minister and the accompanying judicial authorities. The prisoners are also demanding better living conditions and quicker trials.

Israel claims Syria is preparing defense measures in the Golan

Israel today expanded its maneuvers claiming Syria is preparing defense measures in the Golan Heights. This prompted Israel to file a complaint to the United Nations Security Council which will send an international envoy to inspect the truth behind Israel?s claims. Israeli Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai today stressed these claims. Meanwhile, Europe?s Mideast Envoy Miguel Angel Moratinus is continuing talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials before heading to Syria and Lebanon for similar reasons. In another development, Arab League Secretary General Ismat Abdel Majid arrives in Beirut tomorrow for talks on Israel?s conditional offer to withdraw from South Lebanon. Abdel Majid will later head to Syria where he is expected to hold similar talks with Syrian leaders.

Hariri calls Assaad on the occasion of the feast

Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri today called Syrian President Hafez Al-Assaad congratulating him on the occasion of Al-Adha feast. In Kraytem, Hariri met Mufti of the Republic Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani accompanied with a large religious delegation including the head of the Higher Shiite Council Sheikh Mohammed Mahdi Shamseddine and Druze Qaemmakam, Sheikh Bahjat Gaith. He also held talks with his deputy Interior Minister Michel Al-Murr, Deputy Elie Al-Ferzli and Minister of the War Displaced Walid Jumblatt. The premier and his wife also received a number of officials and delegations congratulating him on the second day of the Moselm feast.

Hrawi spends holidays in Zahle

This afternoon, President Elias Al-Hrawi headed to his home town Zahle where he is to spent the Easter Holiday. Residents of Zahle prepared welcoming banners to greet their president on the occasion of the holy feasts. He will return to Beirut on Monday. Hrawi this year violated the tradition of meeting Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Nasrallah Boutrous Sfeir on Good Friday.

Berri reiterates the will-to-stay in the South

House Speaker Nabih Berri today stressed the strong will-to-stay among the people of South Lebanon. He was speaking to a visiting delegation grouping residents of different villages and towns in the occupied zone at his residence in Msayleh. On the same occasion, Berri received his deputy Elie Al-Ferzli, Interior Minister Michel Al-Murr and a number of deputies and local officials. Last evening, the House Speaker visited the memorial site at the village of Qana to pray for all the martyrs who died during the April 1996 Israeli onslaught on South Lebanon

Monitoring Group holds Israel responsible for targeting civilians

The five-nation cease-fire monitoring group today held Israel responsible for violating the April 1996 Truce Agreement by targeting civilians in South Lebanon. This after a 32-hour meeting at the UNIFIL headquarters in Naqoura. The panel issued a statement saying it discussed six complaints, three filed by Lebanon and three others lodged by Israel, over alleged truce violations. The statement called on Israel and its collaborators to avoid targeting civilian areas in South Lebanon. It also called on the Lebanese side not to launch attacks from civilian areas.

The Lebanese complaints centered on Israeli shelling of civilian areas in the Central Sector of the occupied zone, the killing of the civilian Mohammed Asaad Hattab and damage caused in three civilian homes in Nabatieh al-Faouqa and Barasheet. The Israeli side claimed resistance guerrillas blew up a car on the road linking the villages of Markaba and Houla which killed one civilian and wounded three others.

Maronite Archbishops stress national unity

The Council of Maronite Archbishops today held a meeting headed by Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Nasrallah Boutrous Sfeir. The council congratulated all the Moslems of Lebanon and the Arab world on the occasion of Al-Adha. In a statement issued after the meeting, the council welcomed holding the upcoming municipal and mayoral elections in the country. The statement also stressed national unity should be preserved to face the current Israeli threats and maneuvers.

Sfeir receives French official delegation

In Bkirki, Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Nasrallah Boutrous Sfeir held talks today with the French Parliamentary Delegation currently visiting Lebanon in the presence of the French ambassador to Lebanon Danielle Jouanneau. The delegation later reiterated France's support for the unconditional implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 425. Over the past two days, the delegation, which includes seven deputies belonging to different political factions in France, held talks with top Lebanese officials including Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri and House Speaker Nabih Berri. This is the first visit of the delegation to Beirut in 25 years.

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