Lebanon on political edge after Turkish kidnapping

Aug. 9, 2013 at 11:20 AM
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BEIRUT, Lebanon, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- A pro-Western political alliance in Lebanon said the Friday abduction of two Turkish pilots at the Beirut airport was meant to ruin the country's credibility.

The Turkish government called on its citizens to leave Lebanon as soon as possible because of the national security repercussions of the Friday kidnapping. The Daily Star newspaper in Lebanon reports a group calling itself Zuwwar al-Imam Ali al-Reda took credit for the kidnapping, saying Turkey was responsible for the abduction of Lebanese Shiites in Syria.

The March 14 political alliance, a pro-Western group, issued a statement saying the attackers were trying to undermine Lebanon's fragile stability.

"This incident could have repercussions on Lebanese citizens," the movement said. "The kidnapping of two Turkish pilots [is] aimed at destroying the credibility of the Lebanese state ... and its relations with Arab and foreign countries."

Lebanon broke free of Syrian dominance after the Cedar Revolution in 2005. Civil war raging in Syria, however, has threatened to throw Lebanon into a state of disarray.

Shiite movement Hezbollah has admitted to fighting alongside pro-government forces in Syria. That adds challenges to Lebanese lawmakers trying to form a new government since the March resignation of Prime Minister Najib Mikati, a Hezbollah ally.

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