Beirut heals its wounds in the wake of bloody clashes that reminded of the “civil war”

Beirut – AFP
Beirut, in the wake of violent clashes over political tension linked to the investigation into the port explosion, gathered its wounds on Friday, while the authorities were preparing for the funerals of six people killed during the confrontations in an area that formed a line of contact during the painful years of the civil war.
On Thursday, Beirut witnessed one of the fiercest security confrontations in years, in an escalation that threatens to plunge the country into a new crisis, more than a month after the formation of a government focused on extricating the country from the cycle of economic collapse.
Al-Tayouneh roundabout, tens of meters from the Palace of Justice, where the office of the judicial investigator Tariq Bitar is located, turned into a war scene that witnessed heavy shooting and heavy shells, and the spread of snipers on the roofs of buildings, despite the presence of army units and their implementation of rapid deployment in the area, which is one of the lines of contact. earlier during the Civil War.
The clashes resulted in the killing of six people, including a woman with five children, who was shot in the head while she was in her house, in addition to wounding 32 others.
The “Amal Movement”, led by Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, mourned three of its members, and also called for the “Hezbollah” militias, in the afternoon, for the funeral of two members, in addition to the woman in the southern suburb of Beirut.
Since Thursday afternoon, a calm has prevailed in the area of ​​clashes, amid a heavy deployment of the army, and it has set up checkpoints for cars and transiting vehicles.
After the clashes ended, the army announced that “while a number of protesters headed to the Adliya area for a sit-in, there was a dispute and an exchange of fire took place in the Tayouneh-Badaro area,” after it had announced earlier that protesters were exposed to bursts of fire while they were heading to the Palace of Justice. Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi announced that “the problem started with shooting through sniping,” which marked the civil war.
“Hezbollah” and “Amal Movement” accused groups of the “Lebanese Forces” party of “armed attack” on their supporters, but the latter considered this “totally and completely rejected”, accusing members of the two parties of “entering safe neighborhoods.”
On Friday, Moscow called on all Lebanese parties to exercise restraint. On Thursday, Washington and Paris called for “calm down” and “de-escalation.” The two countries stressed the “independence of the judiciary.”
The scene of the clashes, Thursday, brought back the painful memories of the civil war for Maryam Daher (44 years old). She said, “I remembered everything…I asked myself in which hallway the residents of the Tayouneh buildings are sitting today, then I started crying, and I remembered myself as a child hiding in the hallway of the house.”
The events also brought to mind the May 2008 crisis, when a political crisis developed into street battles between the Hezbollah militia and the parliamentary majority at that time led by Saad Hariri. During which, for days, Hezbollah controlled most of the western part of Beirut, before the political parties later reached a settlement.
With the government declaring Friday an official day of mourning before the weekend followed by Monday, a closure on the occasion of the Prophet’s birthday, Bitar will not be able to set dates for the interrogation of three former ministers, who are current MPs, before Tuesday.
Hezbollah and the “Amal” movement refuse the government to hold any session unless it is dedicated to discussing the position of the judicial investigator in the port explosion, which killed about 215 people and injured 6,500 others.
This is the first political crisis that the Mikati government has faced since its formation on September 10, at a time when it is supposed to find solutions to the economic collapse that has been going on in the country for more than two years. It is responsible for resuming negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, as well as preparing for the parliamentary elections to be held next May.
Several political forces are criticizing the course of the forensic investigation in the case of the explosion, which the authorities attributed to storing large quantities of “ammonium nitrate” without protective measures. It turns out that several officials were aware of the risks.
Since his allegations against former Prime Minister Hassan Diab, former deputies and ministers, and security officials, many fear that political pressures will lead to the dismissal of Bitar, similar to his predecessor Fadi Sawan, who was removed last February, after his allegations against political officials.


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