Lebanese security chiefs have warned of a heightened terrorist threat in the wake of deadly bombings in a Christian village at the border with crisis-stricken Syria.
“We should not rule out that this terrorist crime is a harbinger of a wave of terrorist operations,” read a Tuesday statement released after a cabinet meeting, attended by Prime Minister Tammam Salam and other security chiefs.
“It could be an indicator of a new more aggressive phase of the battle with terrorist organizations, which work tirelessly to inflict harm on Lebanon and to drag it into chaos and ruin,” said the statement.
The warning came a day after the village of al-Qaa was targeted in two waves of bombings that killed five people and injured 31 others. The first group of bombers attacked before dawn and the second later at night, two of them blowing themselves up near a church.
Security officials say Takfiri Daesh terrorists were behind the attack. There has been no claim of responsibility.
The statement further called on the Lebanese nation to maintain their faith in the state and the security establishment.
“This assault constitutes a qualitative transformation in the war being waged by terrorist organizations against Lebanon as a state and a nation,” the statement read.
“Reality dictates that we foster the highest levels of alertness and awareness and asks of all Lebanese that they confirm their absolute faith in their home and their absolute trust in the Army and security apparatus.”
Information Minister Ramzi Joreige said, “The Cabinet considers itself in a constant state of alert to deal with any security situation and announces that all state agencies will remain on full alert.”
Before the cabinet session Salam said that the terrorist attacks “came as no surprise as security forces were anticipating a new terror attack.”
“Terrorism doesn’t differentiate between one sect and another or one area and another … a Christian area was targeted today, but we have seen other Muslim areas under attack.”
The Lebanese army said it had mounted dawn raids on Syrian refugee camps, detaining 227 people for being illegally present in Lebanon.