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Gunman shot, wounded after attempted assault on U.S. Embassy in Beirut

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A Syrian national was shot, wounded and captured outside the U.S. Embassy in Beirut on Wednesday following a 30-minute gun fight during which the assailant sought to attack the diplomatic compound.


Lebanese army forces turn back motorists as they close a road near
the US Embassyin Beirut on June 5, 2024, after a Syrian man

The incident was first reported by Lebanese media. The alleged shooter’s motives were not immediately clear. Nor was it clear whether other alleged attackers took part in the attempted siege.

Photos published online and in social media appeared to show the alleged attacker who was captured wearing a black vest with the words “Islamic State” written on it in Arabic and the English initials “I” and “S.”

The U.S. Embassy in Beirut said in a social media post that “our facility and our team are safe.”

The attempted attack, which saw Lebanon’s army come to the embassy’s defense, took place amid heightened tensions in Lebanon because of the war between Israel and Hamas. Months of near-daily tit-for-tat shelling and fighting between the Lebanon-based, Iran-backed Hezbollah militant group and Israeli troops has displaced thousands of people along the border. The U.S. diplomatic mission is located in a suburb north of Beirut.

The U.S. Embassy in Beirut has been targeted by multiple attacks over the years. A 1983 suicide truck bombing killed 63 people, including 17 Americans. That attack was claimed by the Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad. In years past, American diplomatic missions have also been attacked in Kenya, Tanzania and elsewhere. A 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, killed U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other U.S. diplomats.

Intense forest fires broke out in northern Israel on Tuesday following a surge of rocket and drone strikes fired from Lebanon. The fires prompted evacuations in Israel’s northern city of Kiryat Shmona.

“Yesterday the ground burned here and I am pleased that you have extinguished it, but ground also burned in Lebanon. We are prepared for very intense action in the north,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday during a visit to Kiryat Shmona. Israel has been warning for months that it may eventually open a second formal front against Hezbollah in Lebanon connected to, but separate from, its war in war in Gaza with Hamas.