At least five killed in violence in Lebanon, officials say

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At least five killed in violence in Lebanon, officials say

Prime Minister monitoring the violence from Ministry of Defence The Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati moved to the headquarters of the ministry of defense to monitor the situation as clashes continue in the Tahouneh neighborhood, a statement on Twitter said. The Army is proceeding with its field measures to address the situation, restore security, remove elements violating security, and arrest those involved to refer them to the judiciary, a statement said.

Grenade launchers are being heard by assailants as Beirut gun battle continues Fighters from Hezbollah and Amal movements are seen during clashes in Beirut on Thursday. Anwar Amro AFP Getty Images Heavy gunfights were still ongoing Thursday in the worst violence behed up by Beirut in a decade. Live video on local news channels showed shots firing on buildings as residents from the Al Tayhouneh neighborhood continued to evacuate the area. The Lebanese military also coiled off the area and set up barbed wire. Live feeds from local media showed armored military vehicles with machine guns deployed in the area with weapons on the streets. Lebanon's interior minister has confirmed that B 7 - RPG anti-tank grenade launchers have been fired by assailants. Five people are injured and up to 30 are dead according to the Red Cross.

Lebanese security forces react to gunfire during a protest in Beirut on October 14, 2016. Hussein Malla The Lebanese Red Cross says five people are now confirmed dead and more than 30 wounded in the violence in Beirut on Thursday. Heavy gunfire is still ongoing hours after it initially broke out, while Hezbollah supporters were headed towards a demonstration calling for the removal of the judge leading the investigation into the August 2020 port blast.

Thursday's violence comes amid an investigation that rattled Lebanon's elite The aftermath of a massive explosion at the port of Beirut, Lebanon, is seen in this image taken August 5, 2020. The attack of Thursday is coming ahead of a protest calling for the removal of a judge whose investigation into last year's port blast has left shockwaves through Lebanon's political elite. Hezbollah, a popular militant and political group supported by Iran, is a staunch opponent of Tarek Bitar, the former judge who is leading the probe into the explosion at Beirut's port that killed more than 200 people in August last year. Since his appointment to the investigations in February, Bitar has sought top political and security officials for questioning. This week Bitar issued an arrest warrant for ex-minister Ali Hassan Khalil, a Top Official from the Hezbollah-allied Amal Party. Bitar has also issued arrest warrants for Lawmaker Nouhad Machnouk, an ally of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and ex-internal minister. Bitar, who also heads the prison system in Beirut, is the second judicial investigator to lead the port investigation. The first judge tasked with handling the investigation was dismissed after two former government ministers charged in the investigation successfully filed a motion for his removal. Several legal petitions by officials brought to dismiss Bitar have been unsuccessful. During a televised speech on Monday, the Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah accuses the judge of being politicized and terrorizing him. Hezbollah accuses civil groups of'sowing civil strife in Beirut' Three dead now clashes; Hezbollah accuses armed groups of ''sowing civil strife' A man runs for cover as gunfire erupts on 14 October in Beirut. Hassan Ammar AP The number of people killed in clashes in Beirut has risen to three, state news agency NNA said. At least nine people were injured at one hospital, an ER doctor told CNN earlier. A high-ranking official from Hezbollah-backed group told CNN that they would not fire back, after Lebanon's army said it would shoot anyone carrying arms in the areas that had witnessed clashes. They want to drag us into civil strife and we do not want to sow civil strife, the official said. Hezbollah-allied demonstrators were protesting the judge assigned to investigate the 2020 deadly port explosion. It s clear that those who fired at protesters were organized armed groups that have been planning this attack since yesterday, the Hezbollah official added.

Gunfire breaks out at demonstrations in Beirut On October 14. Shattered glass and debris are seen after gunfire erupted near a protest against Judge Tarek Bitar in Beirut, Lebanon. Mohamed Azakir Reuters Heavy gunfire broke out at a demonstration in the city of Beirut calling for the removal from the duties of a judge leading a probe into the deadly August 20th, 2020 port blast. Hundreds of supporters of Hezbollah and its main Shia-backed ally Amal were marched towards Lebanese capital the Palace of Justice when shots were fired at protesters from an unknown location, forcing demonstrators and journalists to take cover, according to local broadcasters. Local TV also showed a masked protester shooting a weapon from behind a fire barrier and black smoke rising from one of the nearby buildings. Hezbollah has been a staunch opponent of Tariq Bitar, the popular judge who led the Beirut blast investigation and has sought the prosecution of high-level officials.