Lebanese minister survives shooting attack; 2 aides killed
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Lebanese minister survives shooting attack; 2 aides killed

Druze minister, Saleh al-Gharib, came under attack on Sunday when his convoy was making its way through the Mount Lebanon town near Aley, which is loyal to Druze leader Walid Jumblatt. Jumblatt's Popular Progressive Party (PSP), however, has denied any involvement in the incident. Two other people were injured in the attack, according to social media reports. "What happened was an armed ambush and a clear assassination attempt," Gharib told Lebanon's al-Jadeed TV. "There appears to be a decision to blow up the situation on the Mountain (a reference to the mountainous Chouf District, which is located southeast of the Lebanese capital)," said Gharib (pictured below). Gharib is known to have close ties to pro-Syrian Druze leader Talal Arslan. He was attacked in an area near Aley, which is loyal to anti-Damascus Druze leader Walid Jumblatt. The attack comes on the heels of tensions that were ignited by a visit by Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil to the area earlier in the day. His visit caused led protesters to block roads (shown in the following video), prompting Bassil to call off the visit.  Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Bou Saab called for calm, telling the LBC network that the army had placed a large number of forces in the area. Akram Chehayeb, a senior PSP official and minister of education, also urged calm, saying: "What happened is the result of poor judgement by some officials and is a recipe for strife on the Mountain." The attack comes amid an ongoing debate over the fate of the Syrian refugees who have fled their war-torn country and entered Lebanese territories over the past years. More than one million Syrian refugees are registered with the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Lebanon. The Beirut government estimates that the true number of Syrians in Lebanon stands at 1.5 million.

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