A truck belonging to the militant Hezbollah group overturned on a mountain road near the Lebanese capital Wednesday and was followed by a shooting that left two people dead, security officials and Hezbollah said.
Lebanese troops immediately cordoned off the truck filled with large boxes in the Christian town of Kahaleh on the highway that links Beirut to the eastern Bekaa Valley.
The highway is believed to be used by Hezbollah to bring weapons from eastern Lebanon and Syria to its headquarters south of Beirut.
A statement issued by Kahaleh residents said one resident was killed when armed men opened fire. The statement included no additional details but the residents vowed to keep the vital highway closed as a kind of protest.
Hezbollah said in a terse statement that the truck belonged to the group without saying whether it had weapons inside it. It said local gunmen attacked people in the truck leading to an exchange of fire that wounded one Hezbollah member “who was protecting the truck” and he later died.
Hours after the accident, a giant crane was brought in that moved the boxes into an army truck that drove in the direction of Beirut. It was reportedly heading to the Defense Ministry just a few kilometers (miles) away.
Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati spoke with Lebanese Army Commander Gen. Joseph Aoun and called for calm.