Lebanon army shoots, captures gunman who attacked US embassy in Beirut

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The Lebanese Army said Wednesday that it had shot and captured an assailant that opened fire at the US Embassy in Beirut as tenions boil in the region as a result of the Gaza war between Hamas and Israel.

The army said the Syrian national was transfered to a hospital after he was shot in a gunfight with the local security forces.

A Lebanese security source told Reuters morning that a member of the embassy’s Lebanese security team was lightly wounded. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan later confirmed to NBC News that a Lebanese guard was wounded and was receiving treatment.

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Local media reports published photos of the alleged assailant drenched in his blood and wearing a vest bearing the words “Islamic State” suggesting he may be affiliated with ISIS.

Although there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, another senior Lebanese security source told Reuters that the army was investigating possible links to ISIS.

Separately, a judicial official told AFP that the assailant said he carried out the attack “in support of Gaza,” where Israel and Hamas have been at war since the Palestinian militant group’s unprecedented October 7 attack on Israel.

The shooter’s brother, who lives in Lebanon’s Bekaa valley in the country’s east, was also detained, the official added, requesting anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to the media.

The US Embassy said the incident occurred at 8:34 a.m. local time, adding that the facility and staff are safe.

Lebanese army soldiers gesture as they secure the area near the US embassy in Awkar, Lebanon June 5, 2024. (Reuters)
Lebanese army soldiers gesture as they secure the area near the US embassy in Awkar, Lebanon June 5, 2024. (Reuters)

“Small arms fire was reported in the vicinity of the entrance to the US Embassy,” it said on X, adding that an investigation is underway and it’s following up with the relevant authorities.


The embassy said in an advisory statement later in the day that it will remain closed to the public on Wednesday, “but plans to be open for general business as usual tomorrow [Thursday], June 6.”

US citizens in Lebanon have been advised to “avoid travel to the Lebanon-Israel border area, the Lebanon-Syria border area, and refugee settlements. In all parts of Lebanon, you should avoid demonstrations and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings or protests.”

In a separate statement, the Lebanese army said additional units had been deployed around the embassy and were conducting an inspection of the surrounding area to maintain security.

Meanwhile, Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati followed up on the developments with Defense Minister Maurice Slim and held a series of phone calls with army commander Joseph Aoun and heads of security services.

Mikati was informed that “the situation is stable and that intensive investigations have begun to clarify the circumstances behind the incident and the arrest of all of those involved.”

The premier, according to a statement on X, checked on the embassy staff since US envoy to Lebanon, Lisa Johnson, is outside the country.

The US embassy in Awkar was attacked in September when a gunman opened fire at the building.

It was said at the time that the shooter was a delivery driver who was seeking revenge for being humiliated by security personnel while delivering food.

With agencies

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