Hezbollah-member assassinated at wedding in Lebanon

Ali Chebli, a member of the Hezbollah movement, was shot and killed during a wedding in the town of Jiyeh, south of Beirut, on Saturday evening, with initial reports indicating that the assassination was carried out as revenge for a murder which took place last year.
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Another person was injured in the shooting, according to Lebanon’s National News Agency (NNA). The Lebanese army implemented a security cordon in the area and security services opened an investigation, with the NNA reporting that tensions were high in the area after the murder.

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Video reportedly from the scene showed a man running up to Chebli and firing multiple shots towards him before running away from the scene.

Initial reports linked the murder to violent clashes between Sunni and Shi’ite residents of the town of Khaldeh last year in which Hassan Zaher Ghosn, a teenage Sunni Arab, was killed. A Syrian man was also killed in the violence last year.

According to the Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Manar news, Chebli was killed by Ahmed Zaher Ghosn. Some reports indicated that Ahmed was Hassan’s relative and that the murder was conducted as revenge by Hassan’s family.

The Janoubia news site reported that the tribe Ghosn was a part of had demanded that Chebli be handed over to authorities after Ghosn’s murder, with sources from the tribe telling the news source that they held Hezbollah responsible for protecting Chebli.

Clashes broke out last August in the town of Khaldeh after a poster was put up by Shi’ite residents to commemorate Ashura, the 7th century martyrdom of Imam Hussein.Machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades were used in the fighting in August, which witnesses said lasted four hours. During the clashes, a shopping center called Shibli Center was torched and shot at. Shibli was reportedly the owner of the center.According to the Hamas-affiliated Al-Akhbar news, Chebli’s house was targeted by a rocket-propelled grenade during the clashes as well.

A Sunni Arab tribe to which Ghosn belonged accused members of the Iran-backed Shi’ite group Hezbollah of opening fire. Hezbollah categorically denied having anything to do with the incident.

Mourners chanted “there is no God but God and Hezbollah is the enemy of God” as the boy’s body was carried on a stretcher into his grandfather’s house at the funeral in August.

Divisions between Lebanese Sunnis and Shi’ites opened up after the 2005 assassination of Rafik al-Hariri, the former prime minister. Hezbollah denies any role in killing Hariri, Lebanon’s main Sunni leader at the time of his death.The assassination on Saturday comes just days after Lebanese citizens expressed outrage in response to pictures and video from the lavish weddings of the daughters of two Hezbollah-affiliated politicians were leaked on social media, showing the politicians celebrating in style while most of Lebanon is suffering the effects of a worsening economic crisis.

Video showed Free Patriotic Movement MP Ibrahim Kanaan and former Hezbollah MP Nawwar Al-Sahili walking their extravagantly dressed daughters down the aisle and revelers enjoying alcoholic beverages and luxurious meals, including salmon and truffles.

Social media users expressed outrage at the lavish events that took place despite the extreme conditions much of Lebanon is facing as part of its worsening economic crisis, with many mocking Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah by referencing his past statements calling on his supporters to be patient and sacrifice.

Reuters contributed to this report.