As families gathered yesterday evening to prepare for the Eid El-Fitr festivities, tragedy struck in Lebanon's northern capitol of Tripoli when a former ISIS fighter opened fire on security officers stationed in the street.
At around 11 p.m. on Monday, the shooter opened fire on a fleet of security officers while riding a motorcycle near Tripoli's Central Bank and an Internal Security Forces station close to the Tripoli Grand Serail.
The senseless attack resulted in the killing of four servicemen, and the assailant blew himself up just before he could be apprehended in an apartment building. The attacker has been identified as Abdel-Rahman Mabsout, a former fighter for ISIS (Daesh) in Syria. He had spent time in the Roumieh prison from 2016 to 2017 on charges of terrorism.
The fallen servicemen have been identified as Lance Cpl. Johny Khalil, officer Youssef Faraj, both from the ISF, and Lebanese Army members Ibrahim Saleh and 1st Lt. Hasan Farhat. They were between the ages of 20 and 36. May their souls rest in peace.
In a tweet commenting on the attack, President Aoun regarded the fallen servicemen as martyrs. "Alive are the souls of the four men who fell in Tripoli on the eve of Eid," he posted on Tuesday.
Internal Security Forces chief Imad Othman was accompanied by Interior Minister Raya El Hassan to survey the crime scene in Tripoli at around 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday.
In a press conference on the issue, Othman was asked if Mabsout should have ever been released from Roumieh, to which he commented, "We can't read people's minds... but it will not be easy for this to happen again."
Moreover, an outpour of condolences has been voiced for Lebanon via Twitter.
The U.S. Embassy in Beirut tweeted,"...We offer our sincerest condolences to the families of the Lebanese Army and Internal Security Forces members who were killed and injured. We stand with Lebanon and its legitimate security institutions in the battle against terrorism."
We are deeply saddened by the news of the attack on #Lebanese security forces on the Eve of #Eid al-Fitr in #Tripoli. We offer our sincerest condolences to the families of the @LebarmyOfficial and @LebISF members who were killed and injured. pic.twitter.com/bBnx1vtBPl— U.S. Embassy Beirut (@usembassybeirut) June 4, 2019
Another tweet by UNIFIL head Stefano Del Col said, "Our heartfelt condolences to the Lebanese Army and ISF personnel who paid the ultimate price last night fighting for the country. Their courage and selfless sacrifice represent their utmost commitment to peace and stability for Lebanon."
Our heartfelt condolences to the families of @LebarmyOfficial & @LebISF personnel who paid the ultimate price last night fighting for the country. Their courage & selfless sacrifice represent their utmost commitment to peace & stability for #Lebanon🇱🇧. @EliasBouSaab@rayaelhassan— Stefano Del Col (@stefanodelcol) June 4, 2019
It is a truly tragic event for Lebanon that has overshadowed the spirit of Eid, which is supposed to be about thankfulness and generosity.
Our hearts go out to the families of the fallen servicemen, and we salute their efforts to ensure the safety of the Lebanese people with their ultimate sacrifice.