Armored vehicles entered Beirut as the Lebanese capital sank into chaos, with crowds led by Hezbollah and Amal groups protesting against Tarek Bitar, the lead judge in the port explosion investigation.
Beirut looked like a war zone on Thursday as the military deployed armored vehicles to a divided area of the city where deadly skirmishes erupted following an attack on a protest. The army said troops would shoot any armed individual in the streets of the capital.
The Lebanese army has deployed a range of armored vehicles, including tanks and trucks equipped with machine guns. Sources on the ground suggest the troops moved to a building where the militants are believed to be based.
الجيش اللبناني ارع اشتباكات الرمانة. pic.twitter.com/992bb8zbZs
– ار النزاعات والحروب (@akbaralhurub) October 14, 2021
Lebanese soldiers shoot at building in Beirut where militants reportedly hid after attack on protesters, reports Sputnik correspondent pic.twitter.com/up5A03ch2D
– Sputnik Insight (@Sputnik_Insight) October 14, 2021
Videos show armed men firing rocket-propelled grenades, others retaliating with machine gun fire. Many activists are dressed in bulletproof vests and have sought to protect their identities by wearing balaclavas.
أراد قتل الناس بإطلاق قذيفة صاروخية, فسقط صريعا “عنصر من الميليشيات الشيعية في بيروت وعلى مرأى من القوى الأمنية والسلطة السياسية عاجزة عن القول للمجرم والعاهر: انت مجرم وعاهر, إنه زعيم الميليشيا الارهابية حسن نصراللاه الذي زرع الفتنة في لبنان وسوريا والعراق واليمن # لانpic.twitter.com/q4lJZ83rCJ
– .المحامي طارق شندب Tarek Chindeb (@tarekchindeb) October 14, 2021
In other footage shared online, Lebanese troops can be seen patrolling the devastated area of the city, pointing their guns at apartment buildings as they track down those involved in the unrest.
انتشار الجيش اللبناني شوارع اع اطلاقات نارية اندلاع اشتباكات خلال تحرك لأنصار حزب الله و حركة أمل pic.twitter.com/Xvza1eFkEk
– اشبيليه 🇮🇶🤍 (@ HaedarSevilla10) October 14, 2021
Prime Minister Najib Mikati called for calm. The leader assisted the Ministry of Defense to oversee the response to the violent clashes.
In a statement, the Lebanese military said the gunfire began as protesters, demonstrating against Tarek Bitar, the lead investigator of the Beirut port probe, passed through a roundabout in a dividing area. Shiite Christian and Muslim quarters.
Reports suggest that the shooting came from the Christian quarter of Ain el-Remmaneh and spiraled out with gunfire fired in both directions.
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Death toll in heavy gunfire in Beirut rises to 5 as violent protests against port explosions judge sweep through capital and Lebanese army is deployed
Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV reported that two had been “martyr” and several wounded were taken to a hospital in the southern Shiite suburbs. Lebanese Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi said five people had died.
Protesters called for Judge Bitar’s withdrawal from the port explosion investigation, accusing him of prejudice after asking some of the country’s top politicians to appear in court.
On Tuesday, Bitar issued an arrest warrant against former finance minister Ali Hassan Khalil shortly before Khalil and former public works minister Ghazi Zeiter filed a lawsuit demanding Bitar’s withdrawal from the case. Zeiter and Khalil are both close or allies of Hezbollah.
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