Grenade launchers are being fired by assailants as Beirut gun battle continues

The aftermath of a massive explosion at the port in Beirut, Lebanon, is seen in this image taken August 5, 2020.
The aftermath of a large explosion on the port in Beirut, Lebanon, is seen on this picture taken August 5, 2020. (Daniel Carde/Getty Pictures)

Thursday’s violence got here forward of a protest calling for the removing of a decide whose investigation into final yr’s port blast has despatched shockwaves via Lebanon’s political elite.

Hezbollah, the Iran-backed Lebanese militant and political group, has been a staunch opponent of Tarek Bitar, the favored decide who’s main the probe into the explosion at Beirut’s port that killed greater than 200 folks final August.

Since his appointment to the investigation in February, Bitar has sought high political and safety officers for questioning.

This week Bitar issued an arrest warrant for former finance minister Ali Hassan Khalil, a high official from the Hezbollah-allied Amal get together. Bitar has additionally issued arrest warrants for lawmaker Nouhad Machnouk, an ally of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and an ex-interior minister.

Bitar, who additionally heads Beirut’s felony court docket, is the second judicial investigator to steer the port investigation. The primary decide tasked with dealing with the probe was dismissed after two former authorities ministers charged within the investigation efficiently filed a movement for his removing.

A number of authorized petitions by officers being prosecuted to dismiss Bitar have been unsuccessful.

Throughout a televised speech on Monday, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah chastised the decide, accusing him of being “politicized.”

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