Lebanon begins investigating shooting outside US Embassy that caused no injuries
Sep 20, 2023, 11:38 PM
(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
AUKAR, Lebanon (AP) — Lebanonese security agencies have launched an investigation into a late-night shooting outside the U.S. Embassy that caused no injuries, officials said Thursday.
No one claimed responsibility for the small arms fire Wednesday night near the entrance to the heavily fortified compound in Beirut’s northeastern suburb of Awkar. It was not immediately clear if the incident was a politically motivated attack.
“There were no injuries, and our facility is safe,” U.S. Embassy spokesperson Jake Nelson said. “We are in close contact with host country law enforcement authorities.”
The Lebanese army took measures near the embassy shortly after the shooting, and security agencies began an investigation including analyzing security cameras in the area, a Lebanese official said on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.
Lebanese military police investigators marked at least five bullet holes in the wall next to the embassy entrance. Heavier-than-usual security measures were in effect, but the road leading to the embassy was not closed.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of a bombing attack on the U.S. Embassy in Beirut on April 18, 1983, that killed 63 people including at least 17 Americans. Top CIA officials were among those who died. U.S. officials blamed the militant group Hezbollah. The embassy later was moved from central Beirut to the Christian suburb of Awkar, north of the capital.
In recent years there have been no reported attacks on the embassy, although Lebanon has a long history of attacks against Americans.
In 2008, an explosion targeted a U.S. Embassy vehicle in northern Beirut, killing at least three Lebanese and injuring an American bystander and a local embassy employee. The blast, which damaged the armored SUV and several other vehicles, occurred just before a farewell reception for the American ambassador at a hotel in central Beirut.
In October 1983, a truck bombing killed 241 American service members at the U.S. Marine barracks at the Beirut airport.
In 1976, the U.S. ambassador to Lebanon, Francis E. Meloy Jr., and an aide, Robert O. Waring, were kidnapped and shot to death in Beirut. In 1984, William Buckley, the CIA station chief in Beirut, was kidnapped and killed by the Islamic Jihad group.
The U.S. withdrew all diplomats from Beirut in September 1989 and did not reopen its embassy until 1991.
Associated Press journalist Abby Sewell in Beirut contributed to this report.