update deskMiddle East

Guard at US embassy in Beirut seriously injured in shooting

“The embassy was secured immediately,” said Matthew Miller, U.S. State Department spokesman.

Aerial view of Beirut. Credit: Diplomedia/Shutterstock.
Aerial view of Beirut. Credit: Diplomedia/Shutterstock.

A member of the “local guard force” at the U.S. embassy in Beirut was seriously injured in a “shooting incident” outside the embassy, Matthew Miller, the U.S. State Department spokesman said at a Foggy Bottom press conference on Wednedsay.

“The gunman was arrested after the incident,” Miller said. “The embassy was secured immediately.”

U.S. embassy officials remain in touch with Lebanese authorities about their investigation, and the embassy, which closed on Wednesday, is expected to reopen for business on Thursday, Miller said.

“We are aware that the individual who was arrested was wearing what appeared to be ISIS insignia, but we are conducting a full investigation with the Lebanese authorities on the actual motivations,” he said.

The shooting occurred on Wednesday morning outside the heavily fortified U.S. embassy in Aukar, a northern suburb of Beirut.

The unidentified assailant was injured during the attack and was evacuated to hospital.

At “8:34 a.m. local time, small arms fire was reported in the vicinity of the entrance to the embassy,” the embassy said. “Our facility and team are safe.”

The United States and Lebanon were “in close contact” to determine the circumstances of the incident, according to the embassy.

According to local reports, three gunmen fired on the embassy, which a Lebanese security official confirmed to The National, a state-owned English-language daily newspaper published in Abu Dhabi.

Miller declined to comment on the number of shooters when asked at the State Department press briefing, citing the ongoing investigation.

The Emirati newspaper also reported that the Lebanese Armed Forces identified the shooter as a Syrian. A diplomatic source told The National that an embassy guard was shot in the incident.

Local media reported the gunfight lasted for almost half an hour.

Israel Hayom contributed to this report.

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