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Shots were fired Wednesday night in the vicinity of the entrance to the US Embassy in Lebanon, with no injuries recorded, an embassy spokesperson confirmed to L'Orient Today. "At 10:37 p.m. local time, small arms fire was reported in the vicinity of the entrance to the US Embassy. There were no injuries and our facility is safe. We are in close contact with host country law enforcement authorities," said Jake Nelson, an embassy representative. Internal Security Forces could not immediately comment on the matter. Lebanon's American embassy is located in Awkar, in the Matn district, and is a highly secure area.
Two hundred displaced Ain al-Hilweh residents were asked to vacate their shelter in Al-Mousali mosque after heavily armed clashes reignited in the camp earlier this month, a volunteer told L'Orient Today. The same source said "200 people" no longer had a place to stay as other shelter sites had become overcrowded. Displaced residents previously told L’Orient Today they feared returning home before they were sure the most recent ceasefire would hold. Two previous attempts at a ceasefire failed to quell the conflict between the Fatah Movement and Islamist factions that killed at least 18 people and injured over 100 others between Sept. 7 and 14. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati yesterday that he intervened to stop the fighting, which was reportedly fueled by Fatah's demand for Islamists to hand over the alleged killers of the camp's former security chief. The assassination of the Fatah-affiliated official in late June sparked days of deadly fighting in the camp, which displaced hundreds of families and led to a UNRWA plea demanding over $15 million for victim compensation and repairs.
Representatives from France, the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt reaffirmed their support for Lebanon, stating that resolving the presidential election impasse is an internal matter. A diplomatic source told L'Orient Today that the meeting allowed the Group of Five to "take stock" of French Envoy Jean Yves Le Drian’s three-day visit to Beirut during which he met various political actors. Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed Abdel Aziz Al-Khulaifi is set to visit Lebanon on Oct. 5 — around the same time that Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri is expected to hold a 13th parliamentary presidential election session. In comments to Al-Liwaa published on Monday, Berri said he would hold an "open session with successive rounds until a president is elected," which he previously preconditioned with a cross-party dialogue and maintenance of quorum during voting rounds. While "open sessions" have been repeatedly demanded, no election session has maintained quorum past a first round of voting.
Lebanese Internal Security Forces (ISF) announced the seizure of 130 kilograms of hashish earlier this month and the arrest of two people who allegedly intended to smuggle it into Europe. ISF said they arrested two men on Sept. 10 in Dahr al-Baydar, east of Beirut, for allegedly concealing the narcotics in a gas stove. According to the ISF statement, the arrest followed an earlier seizure of 2.3 kilograms of hashish, also reportedly destined for Europe, and the arrest of an alleged smuggler. In March, caretaker Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi claimed that in 2022, ISF made “1,041 drug seizures, arrested 1,512 people involved in trafficking, confiscated more than 15 million pills of captagon and six tons of cannabis.” Over the past months, the ISF announced the dismantling of hashish manufacturing plants and international smuggling networks.
A Lebanese man was killed on Tuesday during an alleged robbery in Dearborn, Michigan, the state-run National News Agency and local press reported. TCD News claimed the killer targeted 26-year-old Hassan Salameh, a native of Ebba, South Lebanon, and his fiancée as they left a restaurant Tuesday evening, reportedly seeking to rob the victim’s Rolex. An employee at Lama's Florist, a flower shop owned by Salameh, told L'Orient Today he was shocked by the death. Dearborn is home to one of the largest Lebanese communities in the United States.
The heads of the Bint Jbeil and Ain Ebel municipalities denied reports that “men in balaclavas” set up a roadblock to prevent access to the only road out of Ain Ebel. A resident told L'Orient Today the village's only exit was blocked as of Wednesday morning. A security source told L'Orient Today that Internal Security Forces intervened to resolve the incident. Ain Ebel municipal head Imad Allous confirmed to L'Orient Today that security forces intervened but described the roadblock as the result of two cars, emphasizing that it lasted no more than ten minutes. Bint Jbeil municipal head Afif Bazzi was quoted in local media denying the presence of any roadblocks. The incident comes a day after Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea relayed security officials' claim that they could not investigate the death of former party official Elias Hasrouni. Geagea blamed Hezbollah for Hasrouni's reported kidnapping from Ain Ebel in August.
In case you missed it, here’s our must-read story from yesterday: “Can private insurance companies replace social security in Lebanon?”
Compiled by Abbas Mahfouz