Six people were shot down and more than 30 people got injured in sectarian violence as the streets of Beirut, the capital city of Lebanon, turned into a free-fire zone with heavy gun fire between Iran-backed Hezbollah group and its Shiite allies with Christian Lebanese Forces.
The four-hour prolonged gunfight recalled the memories of 1975-90 blood-shedding civil war involving pistols, automatic rifles, and rocket-propelled grenades including snipe shots from buildings. Students were evacuated from schools and residents took shelter in wartime hideouts. Apartment windows were shot searching for snipers.
The firing opened when Hezbollah and allied Amal movement Shiite supporters started protesting against Judge Tarek Bitar claiming his removal for pointing Hezbollah-backed politicians for last year’s massive blast in the port. Immediately after, the right-wing Christian Lebanese Forces organized their mercenary.
The protestors claimed that they came under gunfire first when two of their supporters were shot down by roof-top snipers, however, not supported by any renowned source.
The port blast, the largest non-nuclear explosion in history killed 215, injured thousands, eliminated a large neighboring area, and destroyed the country’s economy including a currency collapse, hyperinflation, soaring poverty, and an energy crisis with largely extended blackouts.
The fire-fight stopped four hours later when the army troops were deployed to act.
The U.N. Secretary-General appealed to all parties to stop the violence and refrain from any provocations. Prime Minister Najib Mikati appealed for calm and not to provoke another civil war.
Bottom Line: A Four-hour-long open gunfire in Beirut streets in Lebanon enhancing another civil war influenced by sectarian violence to the economically collapsed country.