The past weekend has been challenging for residents of Lebanon, who in preparation for the one-year-mark since the Beirut blast on Wednesday, have been confronted with multiple tragedies.
On Friday, 24-year-old Bilal Attieh died in Tripoli’s Al Salam Hospital from severe burns after having self-immolated last Monday because he could not provide food for his family in light of the ongoing crisis. Attieh is one of many who have attempted self-immolation since the beginning of the crisis in October 2019.
That same day, nine-year-old Zahra Tleis died in Bekaa after being bitten by a scorpion. Her family could not secure the antivenom antidote to treat the bite, as the country is suffering from massive shortage of medicines. Some medicines are only obtainable on the black market at exorbitant prices, making them massively out-of-reach of many.
Head of Rafik Hariri University Hospital (RHUH) Dr. Firass Abiad warned that ”losing patients due to medicine shortage will become more common.”
On Saturday night, Ali Chebli, a Hezbollah fighter, was shot dead at a wedding party by a man who accused him of killing his 15-year-old relative in a shooting the year before. Last year, Hassan Zaher Ghosn and two other men were killed when clashes broke out due to a tense dispute over a religious banner which Chebli had put on a commercial center he owned in Khaldeh.
The Sunni Arab family of the 15-year-old Hassan Zaher Ghosn said Chebli was never brought to justice because he was protected by Hezbollah. In a statement, the family said it would place itself “at the disposal of the judiciary.”
Tragedy resumed on Sunday when seven-year-old Tayona Sarraf was hit by a stray celebratory bullet in her hometown of Minyara, Akkar. She was transferred to the hospital but passed away from her wounds.
That same day, the funeral procession for Chebli was ambushed with heavy gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades in Aramoun and on the Khaldeh highway. Civilians were seen abandoning their cars and fleeing the scene.
The clashes resulted in the death of five people, with the highway closed in both directions. The army was heavily deployed in the area to maintain the peace, warning it would shoot at anyone “carrying a gun on the streets of Khaldeh.”