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US offers condolences to Lebanon over deadly Beirut shootings

'We join Lebanese authorities in their call for calm, their calls for de-escalation of tensions,' says State Dept.

Servet Gunerigok   | 14.10.2021
US offers condolences to Lebanon over deadly Beirut shootings

WASHINGTON

The US offered condolences to Lebanon on Thursday after shootings left several demonstrators dead in Beirut.

"We offer our sincerest condolences to the Lebanese people, and those impacted by the tragic loss of life outside the Palace of Justice in Beirut earlier this morning," State Department spokesperson Ned Price said at a news conference.

"We join Lebanese authorities in their call for calm, their calls for de-escalation of tensions," said Price.

He also said the US opposes intimidation and the threat of violence against any country’s judiciary, "and we support Lebanon’s judicial independence."

Unknown gunmen opened fire Thursday during a protest by supporters of the Hezbollah group and the Amal Movement near the Palace of Justice in Beirut, leaving at least six people dead and 32 others wounded, according to authorities.

The protest was held to demand the removal of Tarek Bitar, a judge heading the probe into last year's deadly Beirut Port blast. The court dismissed a complaint against Bitar and allowed him to continue the investigation.

Commenting on the violence, Hezbollah and Amal accused an "armed group" affiliated with the Lebanese Forces party, led by Samir Geagea, of being behind the attack.

The Lebanese military said protesters were attacked while heading toward the Palace of Justice.

The Beirut Port blast in August 2020 killed more than 200 people, injured 6,000 and left 300,000 homeless, besides causing massive damage and further weakening Lebanon’s already fragile economy.

*Michael Hernandez contributed to the story

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