Lebanon News

Army arrests soldier suspected of Khaldeh shooting

A demonstrator walks near burning tires during ongoing anti-government protests in Tripoli, Lebanon November 12, 2019. REUTERS/Omar Ibrahim

BEIRUT: A man was shot and killed Tuesday night after protesters attempted to block a main highway in Khaldeh.

Alaa Abou Fakher, a member of the Choueifat Municipality and a Progressive Socialist Party supporter, was taken to the Kamal Joumblatt Hospital where he succumbed to gunshot wounds.

Despite initial reports that he died on the spot, a source from the PSP said he was still alive upon arrival to the hospital. However, it was later confirmed that Abou Fakher succumbed to gunshot wounds.

PSP leader Walid Joumblatt and his son, MP Taymour, went to the hospital at around midnight.

Speaking to a group of supporters at the hospital, Joumblatt urged them to "count on the state only." He added: "If you do not do this, we will enter [a phase] of chaos."

Videos circulated across social media showed a man lying in a pool of blood.

Local media reported that the driver of a Lebanese Army colonel was the suspect and that he had turned himself in.

The Army released a statement saying that the soldier who shot Abou Fakher had been arrested. The Army described what happened as a military vehicle passing through Khaldeh before a group of protesters blocked the road. This led to a verbal argument and a scuffle with soldiers, "which forced one of the soldiers to shoot and disperse [the protesters." The Army said this led to one protester being wounded, and that the Army had opened an investigation into the incident.

Tuesday marked the 27th day of nationwide protests that began on Oct. 17.

Protesters across Lebanon blocked roads were outraged Tuesday night after President Michel Aoun called for those in the streets to go home. A statement from the presidency was soon released to clarify his remarks.

In Beirut, the "Ring Bridge" was quickly closed and tires were set ablaze for a short period of time.

Protesters flooded a main intersection in the southern port city of Sidon and insisted that they would not reopen the road. In Naameh, young men blocked the main highway with burning tires.

Tripoli, which has been one of the most popular cities during the protests, saw hundreds gather.

The Lebanese Army intervened in some areas to reopen the blocked roads.

Aoun, in a televised interview, told protesters that they should head home or else the country was heading for a "catastrophe."

In Zouk Mosbeh and Jal al-Dib, north of Beirut, protesters rushed to the streets and blocked the highway in both directions.

Shortly after midnight, caretaker Education Minister Akram Chehayeb ordered all schools and universities to close Wednesday. Chehayeb, earlier in the day, released a statement calling for classes to resume.





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