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Illustrative image Image Credit: Pixabay

BEIRUT: Two bullets hit the car of Lebanon’s caretaker defence minister on Thursday as he was driving in a convoy near Beirut, a senior security official said. No one was hurt.

In a brief statement, Defence Minister Maurice Sleem confirmed the shooting, which occurred in the Beirut neighbourhood of Hazmieh, but did not provide further details.

An investigation was underway to find out if the minister was targeted, a senior Lebanese official said, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

In a separate development in the nearby suburb of Ghobeiry, a funeral was held Thursday for a member of the militant Hezbollah group killed the previous day when his truck overturned on a mountain road in the Christian town of Kahaleh.

The truck was carrying Hezbollah munitions and after it crashed, clashes erupted at the scene.

A second person, a resident of Kahaleh, was also killed in the shootout. The man’s family claimed he was an innocent passer-by but a poster erected in the town showed him holding an AK-47 rifle.

Videos circulating on social media purported to be from Wednesday’s fighting showed exchanges of fire between two groups of men in civilian clothing. The Lebanese army said it is investigating.

Hundreds of Hezbollah supporters attended the funeral, firing bullets into the air, a traditional gesture to honor fallen troops, and waving Hezbollah flags.

The tiny, crisis hit country of Lebanon has seen increasing political tensions between the Iran-backed Hezbollah and pro-Western Christian parties in recent years.

In October 2021, fighting along a former front line — dating back to the 1975-1990 civil war and separating predominantly Muslim and Christian areas of Beirut — killed seven people.