Lebanese minister escapes gunfire

Jan. 18, 2013 at 10:11 AM

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Security sources in Lebanon said Friday that 11 people were injured when pro-Islamist demonstrators opened fire on the country's youth minister.

Lebanese Youth and Sports Minister Faisal Karami said he came under attack in the northern city of Tripoli by protesters demanding the release of prisoners from the militant group Fatah al-Islam.

"I was a target of an assassination attempt when my convoy was attacked by gunfire and they were aiming at me," he told The Daily Star newspaper in Lebanon.

Karami hails from the northern city. Security sources told the newspaper that four of the minister's bodyguards were among the 11 people injured in the shootings. The minister wasn't harmed.

His father, former Prime Minister Omar Karami, said his supporters weren't pursuing the matter, suggesting the gunmen made "a mistake."

Hundreds of suspected Fatah al-Islam supporters are awaiting trial for their role in a 2007 battle with Lebanese forces in the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared.

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati called for an emergency meeting with his top national security advisers following the incident, the Lebanese newspaper reported.

The Syrian civil war has trickled over the Lebanese border at times, stoking conflict between pro- and anti-Damascus groups in Tripoli.

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