Suspect in Caracas Shooting Reportedly Linked to Group Tied to Hariri Assassinationإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
One of the suspects arrested in the Caracas shooting in Beirut on Wednesday is a Jordanian national who is linked to an organization linked to the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, reported al-Manar television on Thursday.
It said that Hani al-Shanti is accused of belonging to the “Group of 13” organization that confessed to assassinating the former premier on February 14, 2005.
Shanti had just been released from jail some three months ago, reported LBC television.
It added that he began working in the music sector after his release.
Security sources told al-Manar that investigations are underway to determine what a group linked to al-Qaida is doing in a “sensitive district of Beirut.”
For its part, Al-Jadeed television reported that Shanti is a close friend of Khaled Taha, who is a member of the “Group of 13.”
He studied at the Arab University and was imprisoned in Roumieh jail between 2005 and 2011.
Al-Jadeed said that he had rented more than one apartment in Beirut’s Tariq al-Jedideh and al-Basta neighborhoods.
Security forces found weapons in each of the apartments, it added.
Early on Thursday, security forces stormed a building in Beirut after a nighttime shootout with gunmen holed up inside a flat, in an incident which left two dead and seven wounded, security sources said.
One gunman was killed in the shootout and the body of another man was found inside the flat in west Beirut's Caracas district, a security official told Agence France Presse on condition of anonymity.
Another gunman was wounded, the army said in a statement, adding that the man had previously been "detained for several years in Lebanon for security reasons," without elaborating.
The security official said the spark for the shootout was a personal dispute between at least one of the men and a woman in her early 20s. The dead man and the woman, detained in the incident, were Syrian nationals, he said.
The army said it also arrested a guard described as "suspicious" and the wounded gunman, having rushed to the site late Wednesday after reports of gunfire.
According to the army, the man who was found dead in the flat had been killed during a clash between gunmen that took place prior to the arrival of security forces.
Gunmen subsequently lobbed grenades and began shooting at the security forces from the flat, wounding at least six policemen and soldiers. The military said it found a large amount of weapons in the flat.
The shootout came amid heightened tensions in Lebanon, where deadly sectarian violence has broken out in the past two weeks linked to the unrest sweeping neighboring Syria.
The U.S. embassy in Beirut on Thursday warned American citizens to be aware of prevailing "tensions" and "violent incidents" in Lebanon.