Gunman captured after shooting outside US embassy in Lebanon

BEIRUT (AP) — A gunman was shot dead and captured by Lebanese soldiers after a shootout outside the U.S. Embassy outside Beirut Wednesday morning, the army said.

The attack came as tensions continued to simmer in the small Mediterranean country, where months of fighting between Hezbollah militants and Israeli troops have displaced thousands of people along the border after years of political impasse and economic difficulties.

The Lebanese army said in a statement that soldiers shot an attacker, whom they described only as a Syrian national. The shooter was injured and taken to hospital.

The shooter’s motives were unclear. However, Lebanese media published photos that appear to show a bloodied attacker wearing a black vest with the words “Islamic State” written in Arabic and the English initials “I” and “S.”

Local media reported that there was a shootout involving at least one assailant that lasted nearly half an hour. A video posted on social media shows an armed man in a parking lot outside the embassy entrance firing what appears to be an assault rifle.

The US embassy said the attack on the embassy entrance caused no casualties among its staff and that Lebanese troops and embassy security quickly mobilized.

A statement from Lebanese caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s office said he was informed, following meetings with the defense minister and army commander, that the situation was now stable and serious investigations were underway. in progress.

The Lebanese army said it had deployed troops around the embassy and surrounding areas.

In 1983, a deadly bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut killed 63 people. US officials blame the attack on Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

Following this attack, the embassy was moved from central Beirut to the Christian suburb of Aukar, north of the capital. Another bombing hit the new location on September 20, 1984.

In September 2023, Lebanese security forces arrested a Lebanese man who opened fire by the American embassy. There were no casualties during this attack.

In October 2023, hundreds of protesters clashed with Lebanese security forces during demonstrations near the US Embassy in support of the people of Gaza and the militant group. Hamas in its war against Israel.

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