Salam reaffirms commitment
to release hostages

Prime Minister Tammam Salam speaks at Tuesday

BEIRUT - Prime Minister Tammam Salam warned in a speech marking new Grand Mufti Abdul Latif Deryan’s appointment that extremism is threatening Islam, and reaffirmed his government’s commitment to ensure the release of the Arsal hostages.


“Our mighty Islam, the religion of love, moderation, and forgiveness, is facing a vicious attack today by obscurant takfiri groups that wreak havoc on earth,” Salam said from inside Downtown Beirut’s Mohammad al-Amin mosque.


“The evil of these extremist terrorist groups, that take advantage of ignorant and weak people in the name of Islam, has reached Lebanon.”


“I affirm once again, that we are proceeding with what we started at the moment our sons the soldiers were kidnapped. We will not stop or give up before we bring back those heroes to their families safe and sound.”


Earlier on Tuesday, a Twitter account apparently connected to Syrian Al-Qaeda affiliate the Al-Nusra Front posted a message threatening to harm the captive soldier Mohammed Maarouf Himya.


The threat comes just weeks after two Lebanese soldiers were beheaded by supporters of jihadist group the Islamic State. Videos showing the execution of Ali al-Sayyed and Abbas Medlej first appeared online and were later confirmed as authentic.


Some 30 Lebanese army and security personnel were captured during 5 days of clashes with the Lebanese army in the eastern Beqaa town of Arsal in early August, and are now being held hostage at an unknown location.


The fighting, which was sparked off by the arrest of a jihadist commander, was the most serious cross border incident Lebanon has seen since the beginning of the war in neighboring Syria.


Prime Minister Tammam Salam speaks at Tuesday's ceremony. (NOW)

We will not stop or give up before we bring back those heroes to their families safe and sound.