Former premier Saad Hariri said Saturday Lebanon’s Sunni Muslims refuse to be a part of any conflict between Al-Qaeda and Shiite movement Hezbollah, denouncing sectarian attacks on civilians anywhere in the country.
The war in neighbouring Syria has inflamed sectarian tensions in Lebanon, with Hezbollah backing President Bashar al-Assad and many Sunnis supporting the rebellion against him.
Hariri’s statement came a day after a jihadist group warned that all areas where Hezbollah operates are “legitimate targets”, telling Sunnis to avoid them.
It also came as new shelling from across the border hit the Hermel and Masharia al-Qaa areas of Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, causing no casualties.
“The Lebanese, and the Sunnis among them, refuse to be part of any war in Lebanon or the region between Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda,” said Hariri, who heads the anti-Syrian Future bloc.
“They also refuse that the civilians in any region of Lebanon become the targets,” he added.
On Friday, Al-Nusra Front in Lebanon, a group suspected of links to Al-Qaeda, described Hezbollah’s “bases and bastions” as “legitimate targets” for attack.
It had also claimed a car bomb attack in Beirut’s southern suburbs on Tuesday that killed four people.
It was the sixth in a string of attacks targeting areas dominated by Hezbollah since the group acknowledged sending fighters into Syria to support Assad’s forces.
Al-Nusra Front in Lebanon