BEIRUT: Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi Saturday asked the state prosecutor to discover the identities of the shooters in a controversial video and pass severe sentences against them.
In a statement, Rifi referred the video to the prosecution’s office. The video, which went viral on social media and aired on some local television stations Friday, showed men shooting in the air and vowing to “liberate Baabda.”
Some local media reported that the video was taken on May 25 and the shooters were celebrating the televised appearance of Hezbollah Chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah on Liberation Day.
Lebanese have been known to express both joy and sadness by firing shots into the air, an act that is prohibited by law.
Local media also said the men were members of Hezbollah.
Rifi said the video harmed national security and incited sectarian strife, both crimes punishable by law.
The three-minute video shows three men, allegedly in a Beirut southern suburb, shooting into the air from the rooftop of a building. One of them, bald, light-skinned and dressed in military gear, was firing from a machine gun.
"In hopes of liberating all of Baabda from the coming president,” the man said, speaking to the camera before he began shooting in the air.
The man behind the camera responds with "Amen.”
"On Al-Tariq al-Jadidah!" the man said before firing enthusiastically in the air, referring to the Sunni-dominant Beirut neighborhood known to be rivals with Shiite residents in Beirut’s southern suburbs
"I will let bullets fall like rain on Al-Tariq al-Jadidah,” the man continues.
He then fired several rounds of shots for Syrian President “Bashar Assad’s eyes” and those of Speaker Nabih Berri.
“No more ammunition,” he said, before gloating that he had fired 300 bullets in total.