In brief: Vigilantes kill two protesters in Venezuela
Caracas, Venezuela – Armed vigilantes on motorcycles attacked anti-government demonstrators Wednesday, setting off a stampede by firing into crowds after the biggest protest to date against President Nicolas Maduro’s year-old administration. Two people were killed.
Chaos erupted in downtown Caracas when the gang roared up and began shooting at more than 100 protesters who had been sparring with security forces at the tail end of heated but otherwise peaceful protests organized by hard-line members of the opposition. Most participants in the demonstrations had already gone home.
As people fled in panic, one demonstrator fell to the ground with a bullet wound in his head. Onlookers screamed “assassins” as they rushed the 24-year-old marketing student to a police vehicle.
Also killed was the leader of a pro-government 23rd of January collective, as militant supporters of Venezuela’s socialist administration call themselves.
Lebanese arrest man they link to al-Qaida
Beirut – In another sign that al-Qaida-linked groups are moving from Syria into Lebanon, the Lebanese army announced Wednesday that it had intercepted two cars loaded with hundreds of pounds of explosives for suicide attacks, one of which was being driven to Beirut from the Syrian city of Yabroud.
Security officials said the arrest of Naim Abbas, who was described as the mastermind behind several car bombings that have targeted Shiite Muslim neighborhoods in Beirut, also helped uncover a cache of rockets. They said the group planned to launch the rockets to disrupt a memorial service that the militant group Hezbollah had scheduled for this Sunday to commemorate fighters who died in Syria and in conflicts with Israel.
A Lebanese army statement said it had learned of the plots from Abbas after his arrest.