Lebanon: Army Deployed in Khalde after a Funeral Procession Was Ambushed
As a result of the rising tension in Khalde, south of Beirut, after the funeral procession of Ali Shibli came under heavy fire, the Lebanese army is deployed in the area and warns that it will open fire at the gunmen on sight.
Al Mayadeen correspondent reported the arrival of reinforcements from the Lebanese Commando Regiment at Khalde, south of the Lebanese capital, Beirut.
In this context, the Lebanese army issued a statement in which it confirmed that its deployed units "will open fire at any gunman on sight in Khalde."
وحدات #الجيش المنتشرة في #خلدة سوف تقوم باطلاق النار باتجاه اي مسلح يتواجد على الطرقات في #خلدة وباتجاه اي شخص يقدم على اطلاق النار من اي مكان آخر.#الجيش_اللبناني #LebaneseArmy pic.twitter.com/Gms9AMfQ13— الجيش اللبناني (@LebarmyOfficial) August 1, 2021
In the statement, the Lebanese army clarified that "during the funeral of Ali Shibli in Khalde, gunmen opened fire at the funeral procession, which led to confrontations that resulted in a number of deaths, while others were wounded, including one soldier.”
The Head of Al Mayadeen office in Beirut confirmed that "a number of victims, dead and wounded, fell in the ambush that was set up for Shibli's funeral procession.”
She explained that "Hezbollah has no official presence in Khalde; there are only supporters."
Several Lebanese media outlets reported that "Ali Shibli's funeral procession came under fire,” and that "a number of families tried to flee from the area, while others are stuck inside their homes amidst sniping assaults."
Scenes of the shooting in Khalde went viral on social media.
تعزيزات للجيش الى منطقة خلدة . pic.twitter.com/QbqZGLqYc3— ﮼مـصـدر ﮼مسـؤول (@MMas2ool) August 1, 2021
Commenting on the shooting incident, Hezbollah issued a statement in which it said that "during the funeral of the martyr Ali Shibli to his final resting place in the southern town of Kounine, and upon the arrival of the funeral procession at the family's home in Khalde, mourners fell into a premeditated ambush and came under the heavy gunfire of armed men in the area, which led to the martyrdom of two mourners and a number of injuries.”
The statement added that "Hezbollah's leadership is following the issue closely and with great concern and high accuracy. The leadership calls on the army and security forces to take decisive actions to restore security and to spare no effort in arresting the criminal killers, in preparation for their trial."
Earlier, Hezbollah issued a statement in which it affirmed its absolute rejection of "all types of killing and the desecration of sanctities and dignities."
The statement added, "We call upon the security and judicial bodies to firmly stand up against the perpetrators and whoever proves to be involved," and demanded "going after those who foment sedition, block the roads, and insult the people.”
The statement called on the state to carry out its duties of pursuing the perpetrators and holding them accountable in the case of Martyr Ali Shibli."
On his part, the Lebanese President Michel Aoun called on the army leadership to take immediate measures in order to restore calm to Khalde, arrest the shooters, pull out the gunmen, and secure the movement of citizens on the international highway.
Aoun said, "The current circumstances do not allow any security breach or any practices capable of enflaming the sedition that must be thwarted at an early stage, and all parties must cooperate to achieve this goal."
الرئيس عون: إن الظروف الراهنة لا تسمح بأي إخلال أمني أو ممارسات تذكي الفتنة المطلوب وأدها في المهد، ولا بد من تعاون جميع الأطراف لتحقيق هذا الهدف— Lebanese Presidency (@LBpresidency) August 1, 2021
The Lebanese "Future Movement" in Lebanon explained that its leadership "is following closely the developments of the dangerous security situation in Khalde and is communicating with the concerned sides, especially the heads of the Arab tribes, for the sake of restoring calm."
In this context, the Movement expressed its deepest sorrow for the resulting deaths and injuries and for the loss of control.
For its part, the Syrian Social Nationalist Party said that "the Khalde ambush is an external operation order aimed at creating dangerous security incidents," adding that "the goal behind what happened is to drag the Resistance forces into sedition and armed conflict."