Tensions rise in Lebanon over Hezbollah ammo truck shootings


Hundreds turned out for the funeral of Ahmad Ali Kassas in Beirut’s southern suburbs, an AFP photographer said, adding that heavy gunfire rang out during the procession.

The office of Lebanon’s Defence Minister Maurice Slim said a bullet hit the minister’s car as it passed through a district near the area.

Ruling out an assassination attempt, a military and security source told AFP on condition of anonymity that Slim’s vehicle was hit by “a unknown stray bullet”.

Earlier 10 August 2023, The Lebanese army confiscated ammunition from an overturned Hezbollah truck in Kahaleh near Beirut, causing deadly clashes between Christian residents and Shia Muslims.

On the evening of  8 August 2023, The violence erupted after the accident in the town located in the mountains east of the Lebanese capital, on the road linking it to the Bekaa Valley bordering Syria.

Kahaleh mayor Abboud Abi Khalil told AFP that residents had surrounded the truck demanding to know what was inside, before Hezbollah members escorting it opened fire and killed one of them.

Hezbollah said one of its members was also shot and later died of his wounds.

“A number of armed men… present in the area gathered and attacked” those escorting the truck, a Hezbollah statement said on 08 august 2023; in addition to that, “They began by throwing rocks, and then opened fire,” the group added.

Hezbollah supporters posted on social media Kassas’s pictures dressed in military fatigues in Syria, where Hezbollah has been fighting with President Bashar al-Assad in the civil war which erupted in 2011. On 10 August 2023, the army confirmed in a statement that two people had been killed and reported the seizure of ammunition from the truck

“The cargo of the truck has been transported to a military centre, and an investigation has been opened by the competent judicial authorities,” it added.

The army said its troops had removed the truck at dawn and reopened the Beirut-Damascus road which Kahaleh residents had blocked in protest.

The incident was not the first of its kind as many Lebanese remember a similar incident a few years earlier.

In August 2021, angry residents of a mainly Druze village in southern Lebanon stopped a truck carrying a rocket launcher used by Hezbollah in an attack on Israel, accusing the Shia movement of endangering civilian lives.

Being considered a “terrorist” organization by many Western and Gulf governments, Hezbollah is the only Lebanese faction that kept its weapons after the end of the 1975-1990 civil war which many analyst opine is the heart of Lebanon’s problems today.



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