1 Killed, 6 Wounded in Beirut Fighting Amidst Worrisome Report on Presence of Masked Gunmen
A 30-year-old mother was killed and six other people were wounded in overnight armed clashes in Beirut between supporters of Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Mustaqbal Movement amidst a worrisome report on the presence of masked gunmen in the streets.
The daily An Nahar on Monday said facts showed the presence of masked gunmen, not only in the neighborhoods where fighting took place but also in their environs as well as other areas.
According to information obtained by An Nahar, armed groups opened fire and stormed Aisha Bakkar neighborhood of Beirut around 8 pm Sunday.
It said Zeina Miri, 30, was killed by gunfire as she stood on the balcony of her apartment in Aisah Bakkar.
While some reports said that Miri was killed when gunmen opened fire on the building, others said she fell victim to a stray bullet.
Security sources said fighting with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades erupted in Aisha Bakkar around 8 pm Sunday pitting supporters of Berri”s Amal Movement against Mustaqbal Movement of Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri.
Clashes quickly spread to reach nearby areas of Mar Elias, Verdun, Hay el-Lija, Musaitbeh and Khandaq al-Ghamiq before Lebanese troops stepped in to restore order.
The Lebanese military ordered its forces to open fire on any armed man in the street as troops deployed en masse to prevent further escalation.
Local media on Monday said Lebanese troops arrested several suspects from both sides in overnight house raids.
They said Lebanese troops managed around 9 p.m. to regain control of the situation.
The fighting comes only a day after al-Mustaqbal Movement leader Saad Hariri was named as prime minister, with the support of his parliamentary bloc and Amal. It also followed the re-election of Nabih Berri as Parliament Speaker on Thursday.
March 14 Forces, to which Hariri belongs, clinched 71 of the 128-seat Parliament in general elections on June 7, defeating the Hizbullah-led Opposition.
In May 2008 after several months of political crisis and paralysis in Lebanon, Hizbullah backed by Amal seized control of mainly Sunni parts of west Beirut in sectarian clashes that killed more than 100 people.