BEIRUT (AFP) – Eighty-four people have been charged in connection with a deadly clash last month between Hezbollah and a pro-Syrian Sunni faction, Lebanon’s official National News Agency reported.
It said 22 of those charged are in custody and that the authorities were seeking to detain the remaining 62.
In a statement earlier, Justice Minister Ibrahim Najjar said the suspects in custody “have been charged with murder, attempted murder, incitement to sectarian strife, arson and the possession of weapons and explosives.”
He said they “have now been referred to the military investigating judge for prosecution.”
Military police had interrogated 52 people “of different affiliations” before taking the 22 into custody, the statement said.
On August 24, a gun battle broke out in west Beirut between supporters of the Shiite Hezbollah and those of Sunni faction Al-Ahbash — two loosely allied Syrian-backed parties — in the mainly Muslim neighbourhood of Burj Abi Haidar.
The four-hour street clash began as a row over a parking space but swiftly escalated into a full-fledged battle with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades that killed three, including Hezbollah official Mohammed Fawaz.
The clash again put widespread armament in Beirut in the limelight and raised fears of a repeat of May 2008, when gunmen supporting a Hezbollah-led alliance clashed with Druze and Sunni supporters of a rival alliance, killing 100 people in the week-long battle.