As fighting erupts in Lebanon, students seek refuge in school hallways, killing six people.
According to the Associated Press, students were forced to seek sanctuary in the hallways of a Lebanese school as violence erupted in Beirut on Thursday, killing at least six people and injuring scores more.
Armed skirmishes erupted during a rally organized by Hezbollah, a Lebanese militant group, and its allies against the main judge probing last year’s explosion in a Beirut port. The cause of the brawl was not immediately known, according to the Associated Press.
According to a security officer who spoke on the condition of anonymity, four projectiles were fired near the private French school Freres of Furn el Chebbak on Thursday. In order to avoid the consequences of the fighting, students congregated inside the school’s major corridors with the windows open.
As the firing lasted for hours, the entire area was enveloped in smoke. Several fires broke out, including one in a car and another on the bottom floor of a structure, trapping people and forcing them to call for help, according to the Associated Press.
See the list below for more Associated Press reporting.
The firing of pistols, automatic rifles, and rocket-propelled grenades along a former front line from the 1975-1990 civil war was reminiscent of that fight. For several hours, gunfire boomed around the capital, as ambulances hurried to pick up injured, their sirens shrieking. Snipers fired from the tops of buildings. Bullets pierced the area’s apartment windows.
Tensions were high as Iran-backed Hezbollah and its Amal Movement Shiite allies sought the dismissal of Tarek Bitar, the judge overseeing the inquiry into last year’s massive port explosion. The two groups called for a protest near the Justice Palace, which is located along the former front line between Muslim Shiite and Christian neighborhoods.
The two groups stated their protestors were targeted by snipers on rooftops in a statement released on Thursday.
While US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland was in town meeting with Lebanese officials, the violence broke out. The chaos on the streets threw her timetable off a little.
Later, Nuland said at an airport press conference that an independent court is the guardian of all rights, implying that she was criticizing Hezbollah. “Neither the Lebanese people nor the victims deserve anything less.” This is a condensed version of the information.