At least 6 dead as heavy gunfire breaks out at Beirut protest
(CNN) At least six people were killed Thursday and more than 30 injured as heavy gunfire broke out ahead of a demonstration in Beirut calling for the removal of a judge leading a probe into the deadly August 2020 port blast.
The Lebanese Red Cross reported six deaths during the armed clashes in the Lebanese capital.
Lebanon's Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi told reporters snipers and gunmen "shot people in the head," while four B7 rockets were fired into the air, in the worst violence the crisis-ridden capital has seen in over 10 years.
Hundreds of supporters of Iran-backed Hezbollah and its main Shia ally, Amal, were marching toward the city's Palace of Justice when shots were fired at the protesters by snipers on rooftops, forcing demonstrators and journalists to take cover, according to the country's interior minister, an army statement and local broadcasters.
Social media footage showed masked gunmen, apparently affiliated with the protesters, firing RPGs and AK-47s from alleyways and from behind garbage dumps and street barriers.
Smoke was seen billowing from inside buildings that appeared to have been fired at.
The epicenter of the violence, the Tayouneh neighborhood, is close to the birthplace of Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war, and has raised the specter of further violence in the crisis-ridden country.