The National News Agency reported that the Lebanese army and security forces killed Sheikh Ahmed Abdul Ouahid and a member of the anti-Syrian regime coalition in the northern city of Akkar on Sunday, when their car refused to stop at an army checkpoint.
The Lebanese army confirmed in a statement the deaths of two men, without elaborating. "The command of the army expressed its deep regret at the death of two victims (...) a commission of inquiry composed of senior officers and gendarmes was immediately put in place under the authority of justice, it said.
Sheikh Ahmed was on his way to Halba in Akkar to participate in a rally against the Syrian regime. This was supposed to be one of two parallel rallies – one organized by Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) and the other by the Future bloc to mark the fourth commemoration of May 7, 2008.
Minutes after the incident, the MP Khaled Daher announced the cancellation of the rally at which Sheikh Abdul Ouahid, known for his criticism of the Syrian regime and his support for the Syrian revolt, was supposed to deliver a speech. "The firing of the army was intentional and we can ensure that this incident can not happen easily," said Daher. He continued: "We hold the commander of the Army Kawhaji responsible for these violent acts."
A large deployment of armed forces was noted in Akkar where tensions are high. Several roads in the region have also been blocked by burning tires in protest after the death of the Sheikh. Residents of Akkar in have sealed off the roads in protest to the incident.
For his part, Lebanon's Prime Minister Nagib Mikati has ordered an investigation into the death of Sheikh Abdul Ouahid, reported the National News Agency. The official agency said the prime minister offered condolences to the family of the cleric, urging all parties for calm.
Tension between the Sunni and Alawite communities in Tripoli has been fueled by the uprising and the arrival in the area of thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing the violence in their country.
Clashes broke out last weekend after the arrest of a Sunni Islamist on charges of belonging to a terrorist organisation. His supporters say he was targeted for helping Syrian refugees.
Reports say at least 12 people have been killed as a result of these clashes since May 12.