Lebanon News

Tensions at Beirut blast victim's funeral

BEIRUT: Tensions ran high Sunday at the funeral procession of a teenager who died a day before of wounds he sustained in a car bomb which also killed former Minister Mohammad Shatah.

Several people who were at the funeral of Mohammad Shaar, 16, at Kashakhgi Mosque in the Beirut neighbohrood of Qasqas objected to the arrival of Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabanni who is seen by many supporters of Future Movement as pro-Hezbollah.

The rift between Hariri’s Future Movement and Qabbani emerged after the latter received a Hezbollah delegation on the day the Special Tribunal for Lebanon issued an indictment against four Hezbollah suspects in the 2005 assassination of former PM Rafik Hariri.

The crowd gathered outside the mosque chanted slogans against the mufti and shouted: "Get out, Qabbani," while other people chanted: "God protect Sheikh Assir," in reference to fugitive Salafist Sheikh Ahmad Assir.

Qabbani struggled to leave, prompting the Lebanese Army and members of the Internal Security Forces to deploy in the area and help escort the mufti out of the mosque.

An hour later, members of the Information Branch escorted a double of the mufti, shoving the crowd who tried to block their way.

Qabbani was able to walk out of the mosque two hours later accompanied by a number of Information Branch personnel dressed in full military gear. He left on board an armored vehicle.

Friends and relatives of Shaar held posters outside the mosque prior to the arrival of the teenager's body. One of the signs read: "We are not just numbers"

Social media sites circulated a photo of Shaar and three of his friends taken shortly before the explosion. Posing for a group selfie, the teens can be seen meters from the rigged golden Honda CRV used in the attack.

Shaar and his friends Omar Bikdash, Rabih Youssef and Ahmad Moghrabi, all secondary school students, were in the nearby area enjoying a sunny Friday morning at the time of the blast.

Moghrabi, Youssef and Bikdash survived the blast while Shaar was transferred to the American University of Beirut Medical Center after suffering serious head wounds.

The death of Shaar raised the number of fatalities to seven as a result of the car bomb.

During the funeral procession of the 16-year-old, the sheikh accused the Syrian regime and its allies in Lebanon of being behind the car bomb, saying the Sunni community has become a target of attacks.

“The Sunni community is being targeted with all its figures, politicians and security officials by the Baath regime and whoever supports it,” Omari said.

“We do not seek strife but may God curse the ones inciting it,” he added.

 

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