08/02/2021, 10.34
LEBANON
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Khaldé: two men killed during attack on Hezbollah funeral

Sectarian tensions mount between the Shiite group and Sunni Arab tribes in the south of the country. The attack sparked clashes and army intervention to restore calm.

 

 

Beirut (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Two unidentified gunmen killed two people at the funeral of a Hezbollah affiliate, Ali Chebli, yesterday  in the coastal city of Khaldé, . This was reported by the Shiite group, adding that it was a planned ambush. The incident was then followed by clashes during which at least four people may have been killed, local media report. Only the intervention of the Lebanese army restored calm late in the evening. 

The outbreak of violence is a further sign of renewed sectarian tensions between pro-Iranian Hezbollah and Sunni tribes that populate the city south of the capital. Ali Chebli had been killed on July 31 in revenge while attending a wedding. The killer wanted to avenge the death of his 15-year-old brother, Hassan Ghosn, a year earlier at Chebli's hands. According to the bomber's family, Chebli never ended up on trial because he was protected by Hezbollah.

Tensions between the Shiite formation and Sunni tribes had then erupted over the waving of some Hezbollah flags during Ashura. A few days later, some members of the tribes stormed a center run by Chebli, promising to pacify the situation only if the latter did not set foot in Khaldè anymore.

According to what Orient-Le Jour writes, the convoy carrying the remains of Ali Chebli was attacked by members of Sunni Arab tribes after leaving al-Rassoul al-A'azam hospital in the direction of Khaldé. Hezbollah's press office confirmed the deaths of two people, including Chebli's brother-in-law, and then insisted that it was a "non-partisan, but family" funeral. Sunni tribes issued a statement saying they did not want to be drawn into an armed confrontation, but in which they blamed Hezbollah for the violence and for fomenting sectarian tensions.

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