Heavy gunfire in protest in Beirut has claimed three people and injured nine

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The state news agency NNA reported three dead during clashes in the Lebanese capital. An ambulance doctor at al-Sahel Hospital in Beirut, who did not want to be named earlier, told CNN that the hospital had claimed one death and nine injuries since the outbreak of violence.

Hundreds of Iranian-backed Hezbollah supporters and its main Shiite ally, Amal, marched toward the city’s palace of justice on Thursday when shots were fired at protesters from an unknown location, forcing protesters and journalists to hide. statements and local broadcasters.

There are several local reports of snipers firing on protesters from the roofs of buildings in the area. Local television and social media videos also showed masked protesters firing from behind AK-47 street barriers and landfills, apparently shooting back at gunmen, and black smoke rising from one of the nearby buildings.

In a statement on Thursday, the Lebanese army, which intensively deployed on the shooting sites, said that in the areas where the clashes took place, it would shoot all armed persons and called on people to clear the streets.

“Obviously, those who shot at the protesters were organized by armed groups that had planned the attack since yesterday,” one senior Hezbollah official told CNN. “We will not shoot back. They want to involve us in civil strife and we do not want to sow civil strife. ”

In a joint statement issued by Hezbollah and Amal, the groups called for “calm” among their supporters in the streets.

Hezbollah has been a sworn opponent of Tariq Bitar, a popular judge who is investigating the Beirut blasts and has sought to prosecute senior officials. This week, a judge issued an arrest warrant for lawmaker Ali Hassan Khalil, Amal’s chief official and former finance minister.

Bitar also issued arrest warrants for MP Nouhad Machnouk, an ally of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and a former interior minister.

Since his appointment in February, Bitar, who also leads the Beirut criminal court, has been looking for top political and security officials to be questioned in a Beirut explosion poll. He is the second forensic investigator to lead an investigation. The first judge in charge of processing the probe was dismissed after two ex-ministers accused of the investigation successfully filed a motion to dismiss him.

Several legal petitions prosecuted by officials for the release of Bitar were unsuccessful.

During Monday’s televised speech, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah reprimanded the judge and accused him of “politicization.”

This is the latest news, more details will follow.

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