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Gunshots erupted on Thursday near the courthouse in Beirut, leaving one dead and several wounded, as a demonstration by supporters of Hezbollah and the Shiite Amal movement was taking place against Judge Tarek Bitar, in charge of the investigation into the explosions at the port of Beirut.
At least one person was killed and five others shot and wounded Thursday, October 14, in Beirut on the sidelines of a demonstration organized by Hezbollah and its Shiite allies of Amal against the investigating judge who is leading the investigation into the explosion in August 2020 in the port of the Lebanese capital, we learned from military and medical sources.
The victim was killed by a shot in the head and three of the eight injured are in a critical situation, said Mariam Hassan, of the Sahel hospital, in the southern suburbs of Beirut, quoted by AFP.
The shootings erupted shortly after the Lebanese judiciary dismissed a new complaint against magistrate Tarek Bitar, filed by two former government officials, one of whom, former Shiite finance minister Ali Hassan Khalil, is the target of an arrest warrant.
The investigation into the explosion which killed more than 200 people and which had been suspended at the beginning of the week following this complaint, should therefore be able to resume.
Ali Hassan Khalil is close to the Speaker of Parliament, the Shiite Nabih Berri, whose Amal movement is allied with Hezbollah. The “Party of God” led by Hassan Nasrallah orchestrated a smear campaign against Tarek Bitar, accusing him of being politicized and biased.
He called on his supporters to demonstrate Thursday in Beirut to demand the resignation of the judge, like his allies of Amal.
The shots rang out as the procession passed through the Tayouneh neighborhood, located between the Shiite suburb to the south of the city and the courthouse where the rally was to end, and near the front line during the Lebanese civil war of 1975 to 1990.
The tension is highest in Lebanon where the Lebanese government had to postpone a meeting scheduled for Wednesday due to high tensions over the investigation.
Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati called for calm after the violence that erupted in Beirut on Thursday. In a statement, the head of government said he was following events closely with the army chief of staff to consider measures to be taken to control the situation.