BEIRUT – Defence Minister Elias Murr said insecurity in Lebanon was so rife that he has had to take refuge abroad, as Beirut prepares to seek US and French aid in bringing a halt to a series of bomb attacks. "I’m fed up after what happened to May Chidiac. We are all in the same boat," Murr said late Monday in a LBC television interview from Zurich. Chidiac, a leading Christian news presenter and political talk show host on LBC, was maimed when a bomb planted in her car blew up on the northern outskirts of Beirut on Sunday. Murr said he had been based in Zurich ever since a failed attempt on his life on July 12. And he has not resided full-time in Lebanon since January due to security fears, the minister revealed. He said he had had a fierce row with Syria’s military intelligence chief in Lebanon, Rustom Ghazaleh, before Syrian troops withdrew in April after a 29-year presence amid outrage over former premier Rafiq Hariri’s assassination.Ghazaleh figures among the Syrian officials on a witness list of a UN commission of inquiry into Hariri’s killing in a huge bomb blast. "I got information on threats against me personally," Murr told LBC.
With the country rocked by a series of 13 bombings since the Hariri killing, the new Lebanese government is to meet Thursday to draw up a request for US and French technical and logistical support for its security forces.
An American anti-terrorist team is due in Beirut to join the investigation into the attack on Chidiac, while the US and French ambassadors have said their countries were ready to meet any request for security assistance.