Lebanese PM downplays comments of al-Qaida infiltration
Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati on Wednesday downplayed the comments that al-Qaida members have infiltrated the Lebanese territory under the guise of Syrian opposition, Xinhua reported.
The prime minister said he has no solid evidence that al-Qaida is present in Lebanon, contradicting the remarks made earlier by Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn.
Interior Minister Marwan Charbel also denied that al-Qaida has a base in Lebanon on Wednesday.
The conflicting statements over the issue reflect a deep division within the Lebanese cabinet since the turmoil in neighboring Syria erupted nine months ago.
Ghosn said his information is based on the army's report that some al-Qaida members have entered Lebanon through illegal crossings, particularly those in Arsal in the northeast.
Ghosn's remarks came two days ahead of the twin suicide bombings in Damascus that killed 44 people. The Syrian government blames the attacks on al-Qaida terrorists, which stirred up controversy in Lebanon.