Lebanese soldiers take position in the Tayouneh neighborhood of Beirut after snipers opened fire on a peaceful demonstration. 14 October, 2021. (Photo credit: JOSEPH EID/AFP)
The Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) forces have identified the instigators and participants of a deadly shooting in the Tayouneh neighborhood of Beirut, and said at least nine people have been detained over the incident so far.
“The army raided a number of places in search of the shooters, arrested nine people from both sides, including a Syrian, and began investigations into the detainees under the supervision of the competent judiciary,” a statement issued by the Lebanese Armed Forces stated.
At least six people were killed and over 60 injured on 14 October when snipers opened fire on a peaceful demonstration in Beirut.
Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati declared 15 October a national day of mourning.
According to reports by Lebanon’s National Broadcasting Network (NBN), several individuals responsible for the bloody attack have been identified as: Nassib Touma, Naguib Hatem, Tawfiq Moawad, Roudney Aswad, Georges Touma and Rodrigue Touma.
Reports also indicate that an armed cell of the far-right Lebanese Forces (LF) party was arrested in Mount Lebanon soon after the shooting, while at least three LF commanders have been named as orchestrating the ambush, including the head of security for the party leader Samir Geagea.
Earlier in the day, officials of Hezbollah and Amal Movement accused groups affiliated with the far-right LF of being responsible for Thursday’s shooting.
“Within the framework of a civilized and peaceful expression of a clear political position on the course of the port investigation, we organized a symbolic demonstration outside the Justice Palace in Beirut, where participants were subject to an armed attack by groups from the Lebanese Forces party who were deployed in streets and on rooftops, and who engaged in direct sniping and intentional killing,” the joint statement by Hezbollah and the Amal Movement read.
The resistance parties also called on the armed forces to intervene and detain those responsible, while calling on supporters to remain calm and “not be drawn into malicious discord.”
The LF is a Maronite Christian political party that was formed as an Israeli-backed militia group at the start of the Lebanese Civil War to oppose the Lebanese National Movement (LNM), an umbrella alliance of leftist parties allied with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
Soon after Thursday’s massacre, LF lawmaker Imad Wakim took to Twitter to claim that the “confrontation” had taken place between “Hezbollah and the rest of the Lebanese who are free from all sects.”
المواجهات التي انطلقت ليست بين حزب وحزب،ليست بين طائفة وطائفة او منطقة ومنطقة..
انها المواجهة بين حزب الله وما تبقى من لبنانيين احرار من كل الاطياف حفاظاً على ما تبقى من مؤسسات الدولة وصوناً لها من هيمنة الحزب…
انها حفاظاً على العدالة??
— Imad Wakim – عماد واكيم (@imad_wakim) October 14, 2021
Meanwhile, the leader of the far-right LF party has rejected the accusations against it and redirected blame at Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.
Before the snipers opened fire on the crowd of protestors, hundreds had gathered near the Beirut City Court building demanding the resignation of Judge Tarek Bitar, who is the lead investigator into last year’s catastrophic blast at the Port of Beirut.
Lebanese resistance movements accuse Bitar of being a US pawn who has politicized the investigation to target Hezbollah, and have made numerous calls for his resignation.
According to an exclusive report by The Cradle, US officials have been deeply involved in the Beirut Port blast investigation, with Judge Tarek Bitar receiving several visits from US embassy staff that are being disingenuously portrayed as “routine reviews” because one of the detained suspects holds US citizenship.
Last month, US ambassador Dorothy Shea was named as being part of a plot to frame Hezbollah with the possession of 20 tons of ammonium nitrate, the volatile explosive that caused last year’s blast.
However, the shipment of ammonium nitrate seized by authorities last month was later linked to LF member Ibrahim Sakr, who has reportedly been buying and selling the dangerous substance for years.