THE LEVANT – Protesters blocked several roads Thursday in the Akkar town of Halba over unconfirmed reports that the ruthless Islamic State jihadist group has beheaded a captive Lebanese soldier called Ali al-Sayyed.
Earlier, an alleged IS militant calling himself Abu Musaab Hafid al-Baghdadi posted pictures on his Twitter account that show him cutting off the head of a blindfolded man with a medium beard.
He identifies the supposed victim as “Ali al-Sayyed, an apostate soldier belonging to the ‘army of the cross’ (Lebanese army).”
The militant says the purported execution is in response to “the attempts of the ‘party of Satan’ (Hizbullah) to torpedo the negotiations” over the captive Lebanese soldiers and policemen who were abducted after jihadists overran the Bekaa border town of Arsal on August 2.
Abu Musaab warned that other hostages will be “beheaded” should Hizbullah continue its alleged attempts.
Among the pictures posted by the militant is a grisly one showing the severed head of the victim placed on his decapitated corpse.
As the photos surfaced, “angry young men blocked the Tripoli-Halba road at the intersection of Akkar’s Burqayel,” state-run National News Agency reported, adding that “the town of Fnaydeq is witnessing an uproar.”
The road was later reopened as the municipal chief of the town of Burj al-Arab said the road was blocked in solidarity with the army in a “symbolic” move.
Meanwhile, ex-MP Wajih al-Baarini hoped the report turns out to be untrue and telephoned Ahmed al-Sayyed, a mayor of Fnaydeq and the apparent father of Ali al-Sayyed, according to NNA.
The mayor said “his son is the son of the patriotic military institution and that the family is not concerned with any protests that might happen.”
The published photos could not be independently verified and the army is yet to release a communique clarifying the issue.
A video published by LBCI TV on August 23 shows a captive soldier identifying himself as Ali al-Sayyed. The TV network said the video is of seven troops who are in the custody of the Islamic State.
Jihadists from the IS and the Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front kidnapped 36 army troops and Internal Security Forces members and took them to Arsal’s outskirts as they withdrew from the town following several days of deadly clashes.
Al-Nusra for its part posted a video featuring eight ISF members and an army soldier as the fate of the other security personnel remained unclear.