Lebanese Defense Minister Says He Can’t Confirm Or Deny That There Were Snipers After 20 Arrested

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Defense Minister Maurice Slim stated that 20 people have been detained in connection with the Tayyouneh clashes that erupted last week.

“We are dealing with the facts, and the map drawn by the investigators, and we leave them to determine [the conclusion] based on cameras, witnesses, participants, evidence, and proof,” he said during an interview on LBCI, adding that they will be obligated to announce the results.

Since the violent clashes erupted Thursday, CCTV footage and videos taken by witnesses showed multiple snipers, armed fighters, and one Lebanese soldier reportedly shooting a 17-year old Hezbollah member.

However, Slim said he “couldn’t deny or confirm the presence of snipers.”

He expressed surprise that people were demanding the dismissal of Army Commander Gen. Joseph Aoun after the video of the soldier shooting the boy flooded social media.

“[Gen.] Aoun’s leadership of the army has proven his adequacy, integrity, and credibility,” he said, “and the demand for his dismissal is unfair.”

He added that he believes the security services all carried out their duties, with no reason for reproach. He also denied that any minister encouraged or provoked last week’s clashes, saying, “I am not inclined to link acts of violence to the words of any minister.”

When questioned about Beirut Blast Investigative Judge Tarek Bitar, Slim said he doesn’t think the solution is to remove him, rather a set of solutions needs to be brought to the table.

Lebanese Defense Minister Says He Can't Confirm Or Deny That There Were Snipers After 20 Arrested

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