6 Killed in Beirut Clashes as Tensions Over Blast Probe Soar


A protest organized by the Hezbollah group against the judge leading the inquiry into the Beirut port blast, Judge Tarek Bitar, broke out in heavy gunfire that left at least six people dead and wounded dozens more. Hezbollah and its allies accuse the judge of singling out politicians for questioning, most of them allied with Hezbollah.

U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland said that an impartial judiciary is the guarantor of all rights. “The Lebanese people deserve no less, and the victims and the families of those lose in the port blast deserve no less. Today’s unacceptable violence makes clear what the stakes are.”

Shortly before the planned protest, an appeals court rejected a request to remove Bitar from his post. Tensions over the port blast have contributed to Lebanon’s many troubles. Beirut resident Haneen Chemaly accused Lebanon’s leaders of steering the country into civil war, saying it’s “the last card they have to use.”

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