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“Hizbullah Agents Taking Up Positions in Lebanon's Christian Areas”
September 25th, 2010

The Iranian-sponsored Hizbullah has been quietly infiltrating Christian areas of Lebanon in what could mark preparations for a coup.

Lebanese sources said Hizbullah has been penetrating Christian towns along the Mediterranean Sea in what could lead to an attempt to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Saad Hariri. They said thousands of Hizbullah plainclothes operatives were moving into homes and hotels in such Christian towns as Batroun, Junyeh and Tabarja. 

"They are being helped by Christian allies of Hizbullah to attack senior government officials living in these areas," a Lebanese source said.

The sources said Hizbullah was being aided by former Lebanese President Michel Aoun, a former nationalist who over the last two years has become an ally of Iran and its proxies. They said Aoun has agreed to cooperate with a Hizbullah plan to stage a coup against the Hariri government and arrest the prime minister, his aides and political allies. 

"In some cases, Aoun agents have served as middle men to buy property for Hizbullah, and in other cases, they have simply rented apartments to Hizbullah for fighters and weapons," the source said. 

The Lebanese Web site Beirut Observer said 3,500 Hizbullah fighters have been deployed along the Christian-dominated coast north of Beirut, Middle East Newsline reported. Most of Lebanon's political elite, particularly those from the anti-Syrian March 14 coalition, live in the area. 

The Observer said Hizbullah has targeted Hariri and his top aides for arrest. Some of the aides were identified as Gen. Ashraf Rifi, commander of the Hariri-controlled Internal Security Forces, and chief prosecutor Said Mirza. The head of the intelligence branch, Col. Wessam Hassan, was also said to have been designated a Hizbullah target. 

For his part, Hariri has delayed his scheduled return to Lebanon from Saudi Arabia. The sources said Hariri has been alerted to the Hizbullah plot and sought help from Saudi Arabia to neutralize any coup attempt. 

Hariri, under pressure from Saudi Arabia, has sought to defuse a confrontation with Hizbullah in connection to a United Nations investigation of his father's assassination in 2005. The prime minister, long known for his opposition to Syria, apologized to the regime of President Bashar Assad for saying Damascus was behind the killing. 

Still, Hizbullah and Syrian allies have demanded that Hariri resign. Hizbullah has pressured Hariri to blame Israel for the death of his father, who also served as prime minister. 

The last Hizbullah offensive against the government was in 2008 when Iranian-trained Shi'ite fighters stormed offices of the Future Party, now headed by Hariri. Hizbullah also attacked the Druze-dominated area of Mount Lebanon but was beaten back by forces aligned with Walid Jumblatt.

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