Clashes in Beirut: Amal and Hezbollah challenge the judge of the port explosion investigation

Beirut_Blast

Lebanon LebanonAt least six people have been killed and thirty injured by gunshots that went off during a protest in Beirut by supporters of the Shiite groups Hezbollah and Amal, who demonstrated in front of the courthouse against the investigating judge linked to the maxi explosion at the port of the Lebanese capital in August 2020. So, hospital sources reported. Hezbollah and the Amal movement of the President of Parliament, Nabih Berry, called for a protest to end the politicization of the investigation. The removal of the head of the inquiry, Judge Tarek Bitar, is also requested.

“Regardless of our political affiliations, we are there symbolically to support the families of the victims and protect the unity of the country,” Amal lawyer Hussein Zebib told the Lebanese newspaper “L’Orient le Jour.” “Judge Bitar is politicized,” he says. “Why are former ministers being prosecuted, while those who were recently in the office are not?” He wonders.

“This shows that there is a desire to politicize the case,” said the lawyer. On October 12, Judge Bitar was again forced to temporarily suspend his investigation after being informed of the new appeal filed against him by Shiite MPs Ali Hassan Khalil and Ghazi Zeaiter, Amal members, both involved in the explosion case. of the port of Beirut. The appeal was dismissed by the court this morning, allowing Bitar to resume his investigation. According to Dr. Mariam Hassan, from Saleh hospital in South Beirut, one of the victims was killed by a gunshot to the head, and three of the eight injured are in serious condition. Meanwhile, at least two explosions were heard at the site of the protest.

The Lebanese premier, Najib Mikati, has launched an appeal for calm, reported Arab News, releasing a statement that the head of government also asked for “the arrest of those responsible.” The authorities have announced that President Michel Aoun is in contact with Mikati, the Minister of the Interior, and the head of the army to decide on measures to calm the situation. The clashes developed in an area where the border between the Shiite and the Christian regions. Hezbollah denounced the “presence of snipers on the roofs” and launched accusations against the Christians of the Lebanese Forces. Serious unrest erupted as President Aoun received US Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland.

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