Lebanon's president urges Hezbollah to investigate protest killing

Lebanese soldiers stand guard on tanks on the fringe of a protest against the involvement of Hezbollah in Syria's civil war on 9 June 2013. (Photo: AFP - Anwar Amro)

Published Monday, June 10, 2013

Lebanon's president Michel Sleiman on Monday called on the Iranian embassy and Hezbollah to help investigate the killing of a protester outside the mission.

Hashem Salman was shot in the back in an attack Sunday near the embassy in Beirut on demonstrators protesting Hezbollah's military involvement in the Syrian conflict.

Sleiman's office urged Lebanon's judicial and security authorities "to work quickly to uncover the circumstances of the incident yesterday in front of the Iranian embassy, and to arrest those behind it."

The president, in a statement, "emphasized the need for civilians and parties in the neighborhood, especially Hezbollah and the Iranian embassy, to help... uncover all the details" around Salman's death.

The anti-Hezbollah protest took place in the Bir Hassan neighborhood of Beirut.

Salman was a student leader in a Shia party which opposes Hezbollah, and its sponsors Syria and Iran.

A Reuters journalist outside the Iranian embassy saw men with handguns and dressed in black with the yellow arm-bands of Hezbollah scuffle with a group who drew up in a bus.

When the bus carrying the anti-Hezbollah demonstrators stopped outside the embassy, Hezbollah supporters, wearing pistols on their belts, attacked the vehicle with batons, smashing its windows.

The two groups scuffled in the road and the Hezbollah men drew their weapons and opened fire.

Tensions in Lebanon have soared as Syria's conflict has increasingly spilled across its borders.

Several hundred have been killed in Lebanon's northern port city of Tripoli in fierce clashes between supporters and opponents of the Syrian government over the past two years.

(AFP, Reuters, Al-Akhbar)

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