People stand in a street after an ambush on mourners in Khaldeh, Lebanon August 1, 2021. (Reuters)

August 2, 2021

Seven people, including four Hezbollah supporters, were killed on Sunday in clashes between the party and Arab tribes in the Khaldeh region south of the Lebanese capital Beirut.

The fighting broke out during a funeral service held for a slain Hezbollah member, Ali Shibli, who was killed during a wedding on Saturday night in a reprisal attack by a tribe member from Khaldeh.

Arab tribes who reside in the town said in a statement after Shibli’s slaying that they had taken revenge for the death of one of their relatives during sectarian clashes in the same area in 2020.

The clashes erupted when the funeral service arrived at Khaldeh.

Pro-Hezbollah media said the Shiite mourners were victims of an ambush.

Sources close to the party said the attack prompted it to bring in military reinforcements to the area, resulting in hours-long fighting that ended when the army arrived at the scene.

Security sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that seven people, including four Hezbollah supporters, were killed.

Shibli was shot dead on Saturday night by Ahmed Ghosn. Footage of the killing at a wedding was widely circulated on social media.

Soon after the attack, the tribes affiliated with Ghosn stressed that their traditions and customs demand that they avenge a killing if reconciliation is not reached between the disputed parties.

They explained that Shibli’s killing was an act of revenge, hoping that his relatives would view it as nothing more than an “eye-for-an-eye” act.

The Army Command confirmed that the attack took place during Shibli’s funeral, saying gunmen had opened fire at the mourners leading to clashes. It said several civilians and a member of the military were wounded.

It warned that it will open fire at any gunman in Khaldeh or any other region.

President Michel Aoun had urged the army to take immediate measures to contain the fighting, restore calm and arrest the gunmen.

Khaldeh had previously witnessed sectarian incidents between its Sunni and Shiite residents. The most significant incident took place in August 2020 when fighting erupted between the tribes and Hezbollah.

One of Ghosn’s relatives was killed in that round of fighting.

Asharq Al-Awsat

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