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Lebanese communists warn against return to deadly civil war after seven killed by Christian fascist militia

LEBANESE communists warned today that sectarian violence could lead the country back into a deadly civil war as it warned of US meddling in the country.

The party accused Washington and Israel of fuelling internal divisions, seeking to divide Lebanon to further their own regional interests.

“The violent clashes taking place in Beirut … are in the interest of the American and Zionist projects in the region, pushing Lebanon towards sectarianism,” the communists warned.

It issued the statement as the country held a day of mourning for those shot dead by Christian fascist militia, who ambushed a protest against the politicisation of the port explosion in Beirut.

At least seven people have now died as a result of Thursday’s attack in the Tayouneh district, which targeted supporters of the Shi’ite Amal and Hezbollah movements.

They were making their way to the Palace of Justice for a rally, demanding the removal of judge Tarek Bitar as the head of a probe into last years port explosion, when snipers opened fire.

The Lebanese army confirmed that at least eight members of the far-right Lebanese Forces were detained on Thursday, with sources saying that some have admitted to planning the shooting.

Calls have been made for the arrest of the leader of the Lebanese forces, Samir Geagea, an ally of the US and Israel. 

But he has denied involvement in the shootings, calling for an independent investigation.

President Michel Aoun addressed the nation on Thursday evening, saying it was “unacceptable to return to the language of arms, because we have all agreed to turn this dark page of history.”

But, in what was seen as a warning to both Hezbollah and Amal, he said that Lebanon would “not allow anyone to take the country hostage for their own interests.”

In a statement, the Lebanese Communist Party hit out at religious leaders for interfering in judicial affairs to protect its accused officials, saying investigations must be carried out unhindered.

It added that the street confrontations that followed Thursday’s shootings served to divide the Lebanese people and divert attention away from those responsible for the crisis.

“The ruling system finds in the use of violence and internal strife a means to obscure the basic issue the Lebanese people suffer from: the economic collapse, poverty, unemployment and exploitation,” the party said.

The only solution, the communists said, is for the overthrow of the current sectarian system and the transition to a secular democratic state that protects the independence of the judiciary and the people of Lebanon.

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