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March 23, 2023

Clashes erupt after Beirut funeral for Wissam al-Hassan

Clashes have erupted outside government offices in the Lebanese capital Beirut after thousands attended the funeral of security chief Wissam al-Hassan who was killed in a car bomb on Friday, BBC reports.The protesters threw stones at the building, as police fired tear gas.The scenes came after the opposition renewed a call for the PM to resign over the attack which killed one of Mr Hassan’s bodyguards and a woman nearby.Opposition figures have blamed neighbouring Syria for the attack. Many have protested against Syria and its Lebanese allies amid fears the Syrian conflict could spill over. “Really, we are waiting for the fall of the regime in Syria. Until that happens, there can be no peace in Lebanon,” one woman in Martyrs’ Square said.Lebanon’s religious communities are divided between those who support the Syrian government – including many Shias – and those mostly from the Sunni community who back the rebels. Lebanon’s Shia militant group Hezbollah – a close ally of the Syrian government – condemned the bombing. Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi called it a “cowardly, terrorist act”. He said such incidents were “unjustifiable wherever they occur”.President Michel Suleiman and Prime Minister Najib Mikati – who has faced calls for his resignation over the killing – greeted Mr Hassan’s coffin at an earlier ceremony at the headquarters of the Internal Security Forces (ISF). Mr Hassan also recently organised the arrest of a former minister accused of planning a Syrian-sponsored bombing campaign in Lebanon.

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