Jihadist group says it targets Lebanon-bound Ahmadinejad
The group said that Ahmadinejad's visit was a provocative measure aimed at Sunni Muslim community in Lebanon and an extension of Hezbollah's plan to turn the country into a Shi'ite state.
A Jihadist Sunni organization yesterday threatened to kill Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad just two days before his historic visit to Lebanon.
The group, which calls itself the Abdullah Azzam Shaheed Brigade, an organization with known affiliations to Islamic fundamentalist groups worldwide, disseminated via e-mail a message warning the Iranian leader not to set foot in Lebanon.
The group said that Ahmadinejad's visit was a provocative measure aimed at the Sunni Muslim community in Lebanon and an extension of Hezbollah's plan to turn the country into a Shi'ite state. "The ground of Lebanon will shake if Ahmadinejad steps foot in the country," the statement read.
An organization with ties to the Christian Phalange in Lebanon has also publicly stated its opposition to the visit. In a released statement, the group said that the Iranian leader's trip violates the delicate political balance in the country, and that Ahmadinejad is exploiting the Lebanese president's invitation in order to intervene in Lebanon's internal affairs by providing extensive backing to Hezbollah.
The group also said that the visit was meant to coincide with the upcoming report by the UN international criminal tribunal which is investigating the assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri.
Despite the criticism, Prime Minister Saad Hariri and his aides did not condemn the visit. Hariri traveled to Cairo yesterday for a meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to discuss the instability that has wreaked havoc on the Lebanese political scene.
Meanwhile, Hezbollah continued its preparations for Ahmadinejad's arrival. The Shi'ite group's operatives hung banners and signs along the country's major roadways welcoming the Iranian leader. Large portraits of Ahmadinejad were also hung in south Lebanon as well as near the border fence with Israel.
Hezbollah deputy secretary-general Naim Kassem said yesterday that Ahmadinejad's visit could claim success before it actually takes place due to the widespread media coverage and the Iranian people's support for Lebanon.