Lebanon has arrested 20 people over US embassy shooting this week, judicial source says

A Lebanese Army investigator collects forensic evidence outside the US Embassy in Awkar, a northern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
A Lebanese Army investigator collects forensic evidence outside the US Embassy in Awkar, a northern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Lebanese authorities have arrested 20 people after a shooting near the US embassy in Beirut said to be in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, a judicial source tells AFP.

A Syrian man was arrested Wednesday after the shooting, and a judicial official said at the time that the assailant carried out the attack “in support of Gaza.”

The US embassy said on X that “small arms fire was reported in the vicinity of the entrance” and that “thanks to the quick reaction” of the Lebanese army, security forces “and our embassy security team, our facility and our team are safe.”

The judicial source says “the number of people arrested over the attack on the American embassy has risen to 20, including the Syrian assailant Qais Farraj, who is receiving care at the military hospital in Beirut.”

“Among those arrested are his father, his brother, clerics who gave him religious lessons, and those with whom he was in continuous contact,” the source adds, who supervises preliminary investigations by intelligence services.

The source adds that more people could be arrested or released based on the outcome of the investigation, which is seeking to determine whether any of the suspects had links to an Islamic State group cell or any other militant groups.

But the source says existing evidence suggested it was unlikely the attack was part of an organized operation.

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