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BEIRUT: Beirut residents who suffered damage following deadly clashes in Hezbollah filed a criminal case against the leader of the Iran-backed group on Thursday.

Lawyers filed a lawsuit with the Mount Lebanon Appeals Prosecutor’s Office against Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah and “anyone who turns up in the investigation.”

This legal intervention follows Hezbollah also taking a tough stance on the judge investigating the Beirut explosion in August 2020, resulting in a dispute that Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s cabinet has not been able to hit since October 12 although crises increase and poverty and hunger worsen.

The lawyers filed the lawsuit on behalf of residents of the Ain El-Remmaneh area.

Residents were affected by the incidents in Tayyouneh on October 14, when Hezbollah and supporters of the Amal movement entered the area and attacked properties.

Violent clashes erupted when Hezbollah and its Amal movement held protests demanding the removal of Judge Tarek Bitar, who is leading the demolition investigation.

The October 14 protests turned Beirut into a war zone, with live-fire exchanges between rival parties leaving seven dead.

Thursday’s criminal complaint coincides with a rift between the Free Patriotic Movement and virtually its only ally in power, Hezbollah.

The gap follows the decision of the Constitutional Council to reject the FPM’s appeal against the amendments to the electoral law added by parliament.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun and his political team, represented by the FPM, believe these changes are not in their interests.

FPM boss Gebran Bassil, in coordination with Parliament President Nabih Berri, showed his displeasure with Hezbollah on Tuesday during a press conference at which he blamed the group for what had happened.

FPM supporters also used social media platforms to share their anger and displeasure with the group.

This gap between the two allies is the first of its kind since the Mar Mikhael Accords of February 2006.

Despite the differences between the FPM and Hezbollah for more than 15 years, their relationship has never been profoundly shaken.

The FPM “faces an electoral crisis,” said political observers.

They expressed doubts about the possibility of the FPM winning twelve MPs in the next election, noting that it had the largest bloc in parliament.

They added: “Even analysis suggests that Bassil’s parliamentary seat is under threat as there are 27,000 votes and most are against him in the third constituency where he will run.”

Whether Hezbollah and FPM will meet soon is uncertain in view of Bassil’s fierce criticism.

Bassil, one of 10 FPM MPs, moved to schedule a parliamentary session on accountability to the government.

The cabinet has been paralyzed since mid-October when Hezbollah and the Amal movement decided to boycott their ministerial meetings until two demands are met.

They are demanding the removal of Judge Bitar from the port blast probe and the arrest of everyone involved in the shooting of their supporters Ain El-Remmaneh during the Tayouneh incident.

Judge Naji Eid, chairman of the First Chamber of the Civil Court, on Thursday accepted the response request of the representatives of former ministers Ali Hassan Khalil and Ghazi Zeaiter against Bitar regarding the port explosion probe.

Bitar has been informed of this response, which is the seventh proposal for his release from the investigation.

Regarding the failure of Hezbollah to respond to Bassil’s criticism, the party responded to the positions of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres less than 12 hours after he left Lebanon, stressing the need to implement Security Council Resolution 1701, which is done with the intention was written to the 2006 war.

Meanwhile, several young men in Shaqra, in the Beqaa Valley south of the Litani River, intercepted a UN interim force patrol, smashed car windows and attacked the troops on the pretext that they were entering the city without the Lebanese army Filmed neighborhoods.

Hezbollah often conducts similar violent protests on the pretext that its members are behaving as concerned citizens.

The Lebanese army arrived on site and protected the international soldiers and their vehicles.

UNIFIL has blamed the Lebanese authorities for this “dangerous incident” and asked them to investigate and bring the perpetrators to justice.

A statement by Candice Ardel, Deputy Director of UNIFIL’s Media Office, pointed to Guterres’s emphasis – when visiting the blue line in southern Lebanon – on the need for UNIFIL’s operations to have unrestricted access to all – without barriers Territories under UN Security Council Resolution 1701.

Concluding his visit to Lebanon, Guterres stressed during a press conference on Wednesday that “Lebanese leaders do not have the right to punish the people by continuing to disagree”.

He also stressed “the need for Hezbollah to become a political party like the rest of the country’s political powers”.


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