Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV reported today that a dispute broke out between investigators of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon ( STL) and women at a clinic for women in al Dhahiya a Hezbollah stronghold south of the capital , Beirut .
The Lebanese Internal Security Forces ISF, intervened to end the dispute and closed the clinic, according to local reports
According to NBN TV the clash started when the investigators started questioning some women at the clinic.
Tension escalated in Lebanon following reports that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon will soon issue its indictment into the 2005 assassination of Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Last July, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said that the tribunal is “an Israeli project” that will indict Hezbollah members. Nasrallah accused Israel of being behind Hariri’s assassination but refused to provide the evidence to STL to support his claim. Hezbollah and its March 8 allies have been calling for the abolition of STL.
Some leaders are concerned that should the court indict Hezbollah members, it could lead to a Shiite-Sunni strife, but others disagree since Hezbollah and its allies the Syrian backed Palestinian militants are the only armed militias in Lebanon.
Update: reaction to attack against the STL investigators
-Dr. Iman Sharara told Al-Jadid TV: A man from the investigation team called Muwafaq called me over the phone on Friday asking me to set up an appointment.
This was in reference to the claim that the STL investigators stormed into the Sharara clinic without an appointment
MTV reported that prosecutor Said Mirza has launched an investigation into the incident that took place at the Sharara clinic and started investigations with Dr. Iman Sharara.
March 14 MP Khaled Zahraman met with Lebanon’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani. After the meeting, he described what happened at the Sharara clinic as “alarming,” noting that it may be the start of an attempt to disrupt security.
Phalange Party MP Elie Marouni commented about the incident by saying : The assault on international investigators is one of many incidents aimed at thwarting STL. Is it a coincidence that 150 women happened to be passing by when it happened?
Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) Prosecutor General Daniel Bellemare’s office denounced in a statement issued on Wednesday, the “use of violence” against two of its investigators and their interpreter during an incident in al Dhahiya, saying that the event will not deter the office’s investigation.
A group of women charged at STL investigators at Sharara clinic in the Dhahiya on Wednesday morning and grabbed a briefcase from them, AFP reported.
The STL’s statement said its team had obtained approval from Lebanese authorities for its visit to the doctor’s office as a “legitimate step in [the STL’s] ongoing investigation,” and that the doctor had received approval from the Beirut Order of Physicians and agreed to the meeting.
“The session with the doctor was conducted in a respectful manner. During the meeting, a large group of people showed up unexpectedly and violently attacked the investigators and their female interpreter,” the statement said.
“Several items belonging to [Bellemare’s office] staff were stolen during the attack,” it added.
The three team members were taken by the Lebanese army and received medical attention at the STL’s office in Beirut, the statement also said.