At least five people have died and 16 have been injured this Thursday in Beirut in a shooting during a protest to demand the dismissal of the judge in charge of investigating the August 2020 explosion in the city, according to AP reports. Lebanese Interior Minister Bassam Maulaui assures that the shooting was perpetrated by a group of “snipers”.
Billionaire Najib Mikati, appointed as Prime Minister to form a Government in Lebanon
In a televised speech, Maulaui explained that on Thursday morning several people had been shot “in the head” during a sniper attack stationed on rooftops in the Tayoune area of the capital and confirmed the launch of rocket-propelled grenades in it. zone.
The Shiite formations Amal and Hezbollah had already denounced the shooting against their supporters as they were on their way to take part in a protest in front of the Palace of Justice, not far from Tayoune.
“When they arrived in the Tayoune area, they were exposed to direct fire from snipers stationed on the roofs of buildings in front of them, which was followed by an intense firefight that caused deaths and serious injuries,” said the formations in a joint statement.
According to the note, at the time of the attack the protesters were heading to the Palace of Justice, the meeting point for the protest called by both Shiite formations against Magistrate Tarek Bitar, whom they accuse of “politicizing” the investigation of the explosion and that this week he called two former Amal ministers to testify.
“Amal and Hezbollah call on the Lebanese Army to be responsible and intervene quickly to stop these criminals. They also call on all followers and supporters to calm down, and not fall into malicious sedition,” the statement reads.
Almost at the same time of the event, a court has dismissed the lawsuit filed this week against Bitar by two legislators and former ministers of Amal, who have been accused of obstructing the investigation to buy time until they regain their parliamentary immunity in the coming days.
Bitar’s predecessor was fired earlier this year following a lawsuit by former senior officials suspected of negligence in connection with the explosion, which caused more than 200 deaths, 6,500 injuries and extensive devastation in entire neighborhoods of the Lebanese capital.
The tons of ammonium nitrate that exploded in Beirut had been stored in the city’s port for years without security measures and leaders such as Aoun and then-Prime Minister Hasan Diab have acknowledged that they knew of its existence before the tragedy.