At least two large explosions were heard Thursday morning in the Lebanese capital Beirut, while earlier two people were killed and seven were seriously injured by machine gun fire in the area near the city's courthouse.
Supporters of Hezbollah and the Amal movement had gathered there to protest against Judge Tarek Bitar, who is leading the investigation into the explosion in the Lebanese capital's port.
The shootings have already been followed by two explosions, which took place as the crowd dispersed.
The Lebanese army warns that it will shoot anyone who is armed in the conflict-ridden areas of Beirut. In a post on twitter, the military is also calling on citizens to leave the streets in conflict areas.
A cauldron boiling in Lebanon
Lebanon has been rocked in recent months by unrest and a lack of energy, with widespread power outages in recent weeks.
Prime Minister Najib Mikati made a public appeal for calm after the shootings.
Two of the seven injured are in critical condition, according to Dr. Mariam Hassan of Sahel Hospital.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun is in contact with Mr. Mikati and the interior and defense ministers to monitor the situation.
Earlier, a court rejected an objection against Judge Bitar, allowing him to remain in charge of the judicial investigation.
Tarek Bitar is under enormous pressure from political organizations, led by Hezbollah, which accuse him of a "discriminatory" stance to resign.
The Tayuneh area is located on the border between the Christian and Shiite neighborhoods of Beirut and was the front line in the Lebanese civil war (1975-1990). It is located on the road leading from the southern districts of Beirut, a stronghold of Hezbollah, to the Courthouse.
Opponents of Tarek Bitar opposed his efforts to obtain testimony from politicians and security officials suspected of negligence, which led to the explosion of ammonia nitrate abandoned in the port of Beirut. The blast resulted in the deaths of 200 people and destroyed much of the Lebanese capital.
Hundreds of men, supporters of Hezbollah and the Amal movement, gathered today near the courthouse to take part in a demonstration against Tarek Bitar. Strong military forces have been deployed in the area.
Although none of its members has been affected by the investigation, the armed and Iranian-backed Hezbollah accuses Judge Bitar of "politicizing" the investigation, which is aimed at "only certain individuals".
These include some of its close allies, including members of the Shiite Amal movement, who held government positions during the crisis before the bombing.
[Source: amna.gr and Reuters]