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Suleiman Franjieh on Saturday accused Samir Geagea of being a “criminal” following the murder of two party members.

“This criminal [Geagea] remains a criminal, and he was [initially] sentenced to death. He came out of prison [in 2005] based on a law made for himself only, and not based on amnesty,” Franjieh said.

Two brothers, Tony and Naif Saleh, were shot dead Friday at the hands of Hanna al-Barsaoui in the northern town of Dahr al-Ain in the al-Koura district. The victims were members of Suleiman Franjieh’s Marada Movement and the alleged killer is a member of rival Christian political party Lebanese Forces, led by Samir Geagea.

Franjieh also said that “all those who support Geagea, from [Prime Minister] Saad Hariri to any state, I remind them that they are supporting a criminal and not a political party.”

Lebanese Forces bloc MP Antoine Zahra told MTV on Saturday that Marada Movement leader MP Sleiman Franjieh remarks earlier in the day are shameful, provocative and cause sedition between the Lebanese.

Franjieh’s remarks were clearly made to escalate further tension, Zahra said, adding that “Syria and Hezbollah are making a smear campaign against the LF through [Franjieh’s] statements.”

He also said that the shot men broke into Barsaoui’s butcher shop, a reference to the report that they entered the store to start a fight.

Zahra added that the incident is painful and expressed his condolences to the families of the victims.

The Lebanese Forces issued a statement on Saturday that the party will not cover up for any individual related to the deadly clash.

“The LF condemns the incident… and expresses condolences to the families of the victims and the Marada Movement,” the statement said. The LF also said it is law-abiding.

“We are surprised by the LF statement, which said that the shooting was out of self-defense,” Franjieh told the press.

He added that Friday’s shooting was related to an incident that happened two days earlier, involving a third Saleh brother. Efforts were made to reconcile that situation, he said. Yet still on Friday afternoon, the Saleh brothers, “who were not armed,” Franjieh noted, “were shot.”

Franjieh accused Geagea of being a “criminal” with a project to ignite “strife.”

“No one can compensate the family on their loss,” he told reporters.

His comment came after his rivals said the murder was an act of self-defense.

Naharnet, Now Lebanon, Ya Libnan

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