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Angie Nassar 09 Mar 2014

Six Noteworthy Stories You Might Have Missed in Lebanon This Past Week (3/9)

You’re busy, we get it. No sweat. Here’s a look at some of the most important news stories you might have missed from the past week.

1. Landmark Gay Rights Ruling in Lebanon

Gay rights activists are seen demonstrating in Beirut in an undated photograph. (Photo credit: AFP via BBC.com)

It was revealed to the public this week that in January, Judge Naji al-Dahdah threw out a case brought against a transsexual woman who was accused by the state of having “same sex relationship with a man,” an act criminalized under Article 534 of Lebanon’s penal code.

Dahdah ruled that same-sex relations are not “contradicting the laws of nature” and cannot therefore be considered a crime.

2. Activists Demonstrate for Women’s Right to Be Protected from Domestic Violence

Activists took to the streets on Saturday in recognition of women’s rights.(Photo via Facebook.com)

Thousands of people marched through Beirut on Saturday to demand politicians in Lebanon pass a law to protect women from domestic violence.

Ghassan Moukheiber, an MP and a member of the parliamentary Human Rights Committee, told the BBC he hoped the draft bill would be unanimously approved once parliament meets.

3. Nine-Year-Old Boy Kidnapped in Zahle

An undated picture shows Michel Saqr, 9, who was kidnapped in Zahle. (Photo via The Daily Star)

Michel Saqr was kidnapped around 7:00 a.m. while on his way to the Sainte Famille school in Zahle, a security source told The Daily Star.

Friends and relatives blocked roads in protest to pressure authorities to help find and free the child. Michel’s father, Ibrahim, owns a gas company and several gas stations. He also runs an advertising business in the Bekaa Valley.

4. Army Releases Photo of “Dangerous” Wanted Man

A photo of a “dangerous” wanted man was released by the Lebanese Army Monday, March 3, 2014. (Photo via The Daily Star)

The Lebanese Army Monday released a photo of a man suspected of having links to the wave of suicide bombings recently witnessed in Lebanon.

Authorities are urging anyone with information on the suspect to contact the Lebanese Army by dialing 1701, use the LAF Shield mobile app or contact the nearest military base.

5. Syrian Warplanes Continue Strike on Arsal

A file photo shows tents where Syrian refuges are staying in Arsal. (Photo via The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

Arsal was the target of three airstrikes in as many days this past week. On Friday, a Syrian warplane fired four missiles onto the outskirts of the northeastern Lebanese border town.

A day earlier, one missile was launched into Arsal’s outskirts, and on Wednesday a series of airstrikes were launched into remote areas in the border town.

6. Abdullah Azzam Brigades: Sorry, Not Sorry

Firefighters extinguish burning cars at the site of an explosion in the Beirut neighborhood of Bir Hassan, on February 19, 2014.(Photo via presstv.ir)

The Al-Qaeda affiliated fundamentalist group, Abdullah Azzam Brigades, apologized late Friday for civilians killed in bombings it has claimed responsibility for, noting its military operations are aimed solely at Hezbollah and its backer, Iran.

“The military operations of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades do not target Shiites, or other sects,” the group said in a statement.

“We stress to our suicide bombers to be careful and to abort the operation if they believe it will kill others than those targeted,” according to the statement. “We confirm to the Sunnis in Lebanon, and other sects, that our war is against Hezbollah and our targets are the party’s interests and military, political and security positions both inside and outside Lebanon,” the group said. “Such targets are legitimate,” it added.