Gunmen opened fire on a protest organized by the Hezbollah militant group against the judge investigating last year’s deadly explosion at Beirut’s port, killing two people and wounding at least 20, according to the Lebanese Red Cross.
Protesters were attacked as they were heading to the Justice Palace, the Lebanese army said in a statement. Men strapped with heavy guns and equipped with rocket-propelled grenade launchers opened fire from buildings nearby, television footage showed. It wasn’t clear who or what triggered the gunfire.
It was the first armed clash in the capital in years.
Lebanon Probe Renews Push to Charge Top Officials for Port Blast
Dozens of Hezbollah supporters and their allies had gathered to demand the removal of the judge, Tareq Bitar, contending he is biased and politicized.
Four former cabinet ministers implicated in the blast have also asked for Bitar’s removal, accusing him of targeting them personally. They are charged with negligence and probable intent over the blast that killed at least 220 people and wounded thousands as it ripped through swaths of central Beirut.
They were allegedly notified of the arrival of a vast cargo of ammonium nitrate at the port in 2014 but failed to take steps to reduce the safety risk.
Families of the victims of the Beirut blast have lobbied in favor of Bitar, fearing politicians are trying to influence the investigation to avoid justice. Bitar was named in February to lead the probe after his predecessor was removed following similar accusations from the politicians implicated.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
BNN Bloomberg Picks
Our Lady Peace to release Canada's first-ever NFT album
Mercedes-Benz debuts new version of beloved hipster convertible
Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos now worth almost half a trillion dollars
4 ways to sustain savings habits from the pandemic
Remote employees worried about bias toward on-site workers: Survey
Puma CEO says if you want Christmas presents, buy them now