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At least 6 killed, dozens wounded in gunfire near Beirut protest

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Beirut, Lebanon – 6 people have lost their lives when a gunfire erupted on the protestor demonstrating against the Judge investigating Beirut Port Explosion. Dozens of people have been wounded as a result of gunfire over Hezbollah lead protest in Lebanese Capital. Hezbollah gathered hundred of people wearing black at the Beirut Justice Palace on Thursday, demanding dismissal of Judge Tarek Bitar from the Beirut Port explosion probe.

Protesters accused him ‘bias’ in the case. Bursts of gunfire were heard coming from the nearby Tayyoune neighbourhood which scattered the angry protesters. Army troops have searched the area while affiliation and identities of the gunners couldn’t be found immediately. Hezbollah and its ally Amal accused the “Christian Lebanese Forces party” in a statement claimed their “hands behind the incident.” “Groups from the Lebanese Forces party dispersed on building rooftops and directly sniped with intent to kill,” the statement read.

They called on their supporters to remain calm and “not be drawn to malicious discord”. Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea condemned Thursday’s clashes in a statement, but couldn’t not respond to accusations from Hezbollah and Amal. “The main reason for these events are loose and widespread weapons that are a threat to citizens anywhere at any time.” statement noted.

 

President Michel Aoun said in a brief address to the nation that the clashes were a “painful and unacceptable scene”. “It took us back to the days that we said we would never forget and never repeat,” he said in his televised address, referring to the country’s 15-year civil war from 1975 until 1990.

Lebanon’s army claimed on Thursday, of detaining 9 people including a Syrian, over the Beirut violence. Prime Minister Najib Mikati requested for ‘calm’ and ‘warned against attempts to drag Lebanon into violence’. The court dismissed,a legal complaint earlier on Thursday, issued by Khalil and Zeiter and allowed the judge to resume the investigation. A huge stockpile of ammonium nitrate detonated last year in Beirut producing a blast which killed more than 200 with 6,500 injured in the incident. No official has been convicted so far in the largest non-nuclear explosion.

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