BEIRUT, October 14. /TASS/. The Lebanese Army reported arrest of nine people suspected of involvement in armed clashed that took place in Beirut Thursday in a statement, published on the Army’s official website.
"A shootout took place in Tayouneh and Badaro quarters of Beirut on October 14, 2021, when a group of protesters marched to the Adlieh Square, which left several citizens killed or injured," the statement says. "Immediately after that, the Army reinforced its presence in this area, organizing pedestrian and motorized patrols and carrying out raid at several places looking for the shooters. During the raids, nine people were arrested on both sides, including one Syrian citizen."
A probe into the arrested suspects is already underway "under the supervision of competent judicial bodies," the Armed Forces say.
"The Army command established contacts with both sides to calm the situation and prevent further slip to a split [in the society]," the military underscored. "The command reiterates that it will tolerate no presence of armed people while army units are deployed in the area to prevent further clashes."
On Thursday, Shia parties organized a rally near the Beirut City Court building, demanding the resignation of Judge Tarek Bitar, who leads the commission on investigation of the 2020 explosion in the port of Beirut. Hezbollah and its allies accused Bitar of "intentional politicization of the investigation," and threatened to leave the recently established government, should the judge not be relieved of duty. Unknown snipers opened fire on the protesters and military patrols protecting them. Six people were killed and over 60 people were injured.
Lebanese Shia forces blamed the incident on the Lebanese Forces Christian political party. Meanwhile, the party’s leadership vehemently denied any involvement, urging the competent agencies to clearly determine who is responsible. Prime Minister Najib Mikati declared October 15 a mourning day, while President Michel Aoun promised to carry out a thorough investigation of today’s events. Former Prime Minister and opposition leader Saad Hariri compared the incident to the period of the 1975-1990 civil war.