World Bulletin/News Desk
Lebanon's army said on Friday it was stepping up security at religious sites and other public places over the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday after a spate of kidnappings in Beirut and protests which blocked the airport road.
"Army units started taking exceptional security measures in the vicinity of religious places, main roads, shopping areas and tourist attractions," the army said in a statement.
A Lebanese Shi'ite clan kidnapped 20 Syrians and a Turkish businessman this week, saying it was holding them to secure the release of a relative captured by Syrian rebels in Damascus.
Sectarian tensions are already running high in Lebanon over the uprising in neighbouring Syria, where mainly Sunni Muslim rebels are seeking to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, whose Alawite sect is an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam.
Eleven Shi'ite Lebanese men have been held in northern Syria by Syrian rebels for more than three months. Families of the captives burned tyres and blocked the Beirut airport road on Wednesday night after reports that some of their relatives had been wounded in a government air strike.
Regime warplanes target opposition-held area east of capital Damascus, killing dozens, local sources assert
Activists say just how much time, effort goes in to organizing rally in Beirut’s flashpoint Martyrs’ Square
Religious High Court has sent a letter to Pope Francis demanding he rescind or face trial on 20 September
Armed group demolishes Roman-era Temple of Bel, a 2,000-year-old UNESCO world heritage site
Lavrov says Syria’s opposition forces on a constructive platform need to unite to step up the fight against terrorism and implement the Geneva communique
Egyptian Coordination of Rights and Freedoms says 124 people have been 'forcibly disappeared' this month
Group member decries ‘coup against legitimacy represented by Hamas, which holds most seats in Palestinian parliament
Human rights monitoring group says ISIL is the closest that it has ever been to the heart of Damascus
Egypt has been without a parliament since June 2012 when a court dissolved the democratically elected main chamber
Scores of residents reportedly held by armed group for organizing anti-ISIL demonstrations
Fuel shortages and lack of medical supplies are threatening to close the doors of a children's hospital in Yemen.
Discovery, confirmed by Egypt's oil ministry, could hold a potential 850 billion cubic metres of lean gas in an area of about 100 square kilometres
Main aim of Turkey's joint air operations in anti-ISIL coalition is creation of safety zone in northern Syria
Al Jazeera journalists case has stoked international outcry, raised questions over Egypt's stated commitment to democracy
Local authorities find bodies of at least 119 would-be migrants who appear to have drowned while trying to make it to Europe
Local residents say anti-Houthi forces kill dozens bottling plant workers