Lebanese authorities have arrested four suspects in this week’s deadly Beirut street battle between the Iranian backed Shiite Muslim Hezbollah group and a pro-Syrian small Sunni group, the Association of Islamic Charitable Projects—also known as Al-Ahbash.
The suspects are accused of attacking and setting fire to a Sunni mosque during Tuesday’s hours-long clash, which killed three people, including two Hezbollah members. It was the worst fighting in Beirut since 2008.
A senior security official says the arrests were made in army raids Friday night in the Borj Abu Haidar residential neighborhood, where the fighting took place.
The official spoke Saturday on condition of anonymity in line with military regulations.
Witnesses said the fighting was touched off by a traffic dispute that escalated when local gunmen gathered reinforcements.
4 is not enough
Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea wondered on Saturday why only four suspects were arrested in the Borj Abi Haidar clashes when “hundreds of known armed individuals took to the streets.
He questioned the purpose of the armed group of that size’s presence in the heart of Beirut, adding: “We didn’t hear of the confiscation of any weapon even though hundreds of individuals were on the scene.”
“It could have been an individual incident, but how do we explain , how in less than an hour, organized armed groups deployed on the streets in full combat mode,” Geagea added.
AP, Ya Libnan
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