Disasters & Accidents

Deadly clashes erupt in Beirut amid protests against judge in explosion probe

Beirut, Oct 14 (EFE).- Parts of Beirut turned to a conflict zone Thursday when armed clashes erupted during protests led by the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah and its allies against the judge investigating last year’s devastating port blast in the capital.

The Lebanese Red Cross wrote on Twitter that six people were killed and 30 others injured amid intense gunfire near the Justice Palace, where protesters had been gathering when violence broke out.

Bassem Mawlawi, the country’s interior minister, said in a televised speech that a group of snipers shot several people in the head in the Tayouneh neighborhood and confirmed rocket-propelled grenades were fired into the air there.

Hezbollah and its ally, the Amal Movement, called the demonstration to demand the dismissal of judge Tarek Bitar, who is in charge of the investigation into the deadly Beirut port explosion that killed over 200, injured thousands more and flattened parts of the city.

The Shiite bloc denounced the shooting of its followers and called on the Lebanese army to step in to stop those “criminals.”

The clashes broke out shortly after an appeals court rejected a request filed by two former ministers to remove Bitar amid accusations of justice obstruction.

Bitar’s predecessor was fired earlier this year after a lawsuit was filed against him by former senior officials.EFE

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