More than 30 people were also injured after gunfire erupted near a protest rally in the Lebanese capital.
Shots have kill at least five people and injured more than 30 others in Beirut, according to the Lebanese Red Cross, as a rally organized by the Hezbollah and Amal movements to demand the dismissal of the main investigator into the explosion in the port of the last year has become violent.
Hundreds of participants gathered at the Beirut courthouse on Thursday to demand the impeachment of Judge Tarek Bitar, accusing him of political bias. Bursts of gunfire were heard coming from the neighboring district of Tayyoune, dispersing the angry protesters. The Lebanese army intervened, the clashes continued for hours.
“The army rushed to cordon off the area and deploy to its quarters and their entrance. The patrols have started as well as the search for shooters to stop them, ”the armed forces said in a statement.
The identities and affiliations of the shooters were not immediately clear.
Prime Minister Najib Mikati called for a return of calm and warned against attempts to drag Lebanon into violence.
Here are the latest updates:
Beirut incident saw “gunshots in the head with live ammunition”
Following a meeting with the heads of the security agencies, Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi said in a statement that “the security agencies were aware of the rallies that took place, but had no indicators. that can turn into headshots with live ammunition ”.
“We must not play with civil peace between the Lebanese. “
Mawlawi said an investigation is underway and all security measures will be taken.
Children trapped by the clashes
Zeina Khodr of Al Jazeera, reporting from Beirut, said children were trapped at school due to the clashes.
“There is a road that separates these two political parties, longtime enemies who are now shooting at each other. People are trapped at home, some children are still trapped at school. People are terrified, ”she said.
“They don’t know what’s going on in their city. About 200 meters (656 feet) from here, there is a decades-old dividing line dating back to the Civil War era (1975-1990).
“It’s scenes like this that bring back a lot of memories to many Lebanese who have been traumatized by many episodes of violence, but it was one of the worst episodes of violence.”
Civil defense seeks to evacuate residents caught in the crossfire
Al Jazeera’s Kareem Chehayeb, reporting from Beirut, said civil defense was trying to help evacuate residents caught in the crossfire.
Prime Minister Najib Mikati is currently meeting with heads of security agencies as the clashes continue, he added.