A security camera shows footage of the assailants attacking the Al-Jadeed TV station on Monday in Beirut.
Unidentified masked men attacked on Monday evening the headquarters of Al-Jadeed television station in the Beirut area of Wata al-Msaytbeh and burned tires on the TV station’s property.
Al-Jadeed later reported that the army’s intelligence service arrested one of the assailants, identified as Wissam Alaeddine.
According to head of the news desk at Al-Jadeed TV, Mariam al-Bassam, a number of Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) youth helped arrest Alaeddine.
However, Bassam told MTV that she did not know who was behind the attack.
Al-Jadeed also reported that Lebanon’s high-ranking officials, including President Michel Sleiman, Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Speaker Nabih Berri, called the TV station to condemn the attack.
“We will not allow anyone to threaten or harm the media,” Mikati told owner of Al-Jadeed TV Tahseen Khayyat.
The premier said that the proper orders were given to the relevant security apparatuses to quickly resolve the case.
Al-Jadeed also said that Berri, who heads the Amal Movement, called the television station to condemn the attack and denied reports that Wissam Alaeddine belonged to his party.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said on Monday evening that the attackers of Al-Jadeed television station have no political backing.
“There is no political faction [in Lebanon] that supports those who attacked Al-Jadeed,” Charbel told reporters congregating outside the station in Beirut on Monday evening.
The minister also said that the perpetrators could have used Salafi Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir’s Sunday interview with Al-Jadeed as a pretext to attack the television station. During the interview the Sunni cleric criticized Hezbollah’s Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.
However, Charbel said that he had telephoned the Shia Amal movement and Hezbollah, adding that the two groups condemned the attack against the television station and said they did not cover up for anyone.
According to Health Minister Ali Hassan Khalil, the recent act of violence should not be associated with Assir’s latest interview with the TV station.
“There should be no reaction against any interview,” Khalil, who is Speaker Nabih Berri’s political aide, told reporters congregating outside Al-Jadeed’s headquarters.
He also said that “silence cannot be maintained over this crime.”
In turn, Assir condemned in a statement the attack, adding: “Whoever wants to know the identity of the [perpetrators, let them] review the Facebook page of one of the perpetrators, [Wissam Alaeddine].”
Alaeddine’s profile on the popular social networking site portrays him as a sympathizer to the Syrian regime and a devout Shia Muslim.
The regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has led a bloody crackdown against those opposing it. Rights activists say the regime has killed more than 15,000 people since March 2011.