Bloodshed in Beirut as gunfire erupts at protest

Bloodshed in Beirut as gunfire erupts at protest
Residents fled as Shia and Christian militia fighters exchanged fire in the streets. Source: AFP
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Daily US Times: At least 6 people have been killed and 32 others injured by gunfire in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon.

The shooting began during a protest by Hezbollah and Amal against the judge investigating last year’s blast at the city’s port.

They said Christian snipers fired at the crowd to drag Lebanon into strife.

Huge tension surrounds the probe into the massive explosion in Beirut port. Shia Muslim group Hezbollah and its allies claim the judge is biased, but the victims’ families support his work.

No-one has yet been held accountable for the disaster, in which 219 people were killed and swathes of the city were devastated.

What began as a protest outside the main court building by hundreds of people arguing the investigation had become politicised and demanding the removal of Judge Tarek Bitar escalated remarkably quickly.

Heavy gunfire erupted in the streets of the Lebanese capital as the crowd passed through a roundabout in the central Tayouneh-Badaro area.

Schoolchildren ducked for cover under their desks and local residents had to flee their homes as men armed with automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers – believed to have been members of Shia and Christian militias – exchanged fire in the streets.

The clashes continued for several hours before the calm was restored.

Military and hospital sources said some of those killed were shot in the head.

Hezbollah and Amal accused the Christian Lebanese Forces party of being behind the attack on the protesters.

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