The Lebanese army said Thursday it had seized munitions from a Hezbollah truck that overturned near Beirut, leading to deadly clashes between Christian residents and members of the powerful Shiite Muslim group.
The violence erupted on Wednesday evening after the accident in Kahale, a town in the mountains east of the Lebanese capital, on the road linking it to the Bekaa Valley bordering Syria.
Kahale mayor Abboud Abi Khalil told AFP that residents had surrounded the truck, demanding to know what was inside, before Hezbollah members escorting it opened fire and killed one of them.
Iran-backed Hezbollah said one of its members was shot and later died of his wounds.
The army confirmed in a statement on Thursday that two people had been killed and said ammunition had been seized from the truck.
“The cargo of the truck has been transported to a military centre, and an investigation has been opened by the competent judicial authorities,” it added.
The army said its troops had removed the truck at dawn and reopened the Beirut-Damascus road which Kahale residents had blocked in protest.
Hezbollah is the only Lebanese faction that kept its weapons after the end of the 1975-1990 civil war. It is considered a “terrorist” organization by many Western governments.
A funeral is due to be held on Thursday for Ahmad Ali Kassas, the Hezbollah member who was killed in the Kahale clashes.
Hezbollah supporters posted pictures on social media showing Kassas dressed in military fatigues in Syria, a country at war where Hezbollah has been fighting on the side of President Bashar al-Assad.
In August 2021, angry residents of a mainly Druze village in southern Lebanon stopped a truck carrying a rocket launcher used by Hezbollah in an attack on Israel, accusing the Shiite movement of endangering civilian lives.