• 'They should have let us die in the water': desperate Lebanese migrants sent back by Cyprus
    TRIPOLI, Lebanon, September 18 (Reuters): For years, small boats have left northern Lebanon's coast, packed with desperate migrants hoping to reach European shores. Until recently, they carried mostly Syrian and Palestinian refugees. But with Lebanon in freefall, its citizens have begun joining their ranks in larger numbers. Mohammad Ghandour never thought he'd be one of them. But he said Lebanon's economic crisis, which has crashed the Lebanese pound and left him u
  • Huge blaze at Beirut port alarms residents a month after massive blast
    BEIRUT, September 10 (Reuters):  A large fire erupted at Beirut port on Thursday, engulfing parts of the Lebanese capital in a pall of smoke weeks after a massive blast devastated the port and surrounding residential area. The blaze began in the shattered duty free zone of the port, prompting some residents to flee the city still traumatised by last month's explosion which followed a port fire. Army helicopters dropped water as firefighters battled on the ground to
  • Lebanese Sunni cleric warns against strife after Beirut shootout
    BEIRUT, September 8 (Reuters): Lebanon's top Sunni Muslim religious leader warned against a slide towards violence on Tuesday after a deadly Beirut shootout added to concerns about deteriorating law and order in a country grappling with a major economic crisis. The crisis is seen as the biggest threat to Lebanon's stability since its 1975-90 civil war. One person was killed and two were wounded in the clash on Monday night in al-Tariq al-Jadida, a mainly Sunni neighb
  • Rescuers sift Beirut rubble amid signs of life a month after blast
    BEIRUT, September 4 (Reuters): Rescue workers dug through the rubble of a Beirut building for a second day on Friday, hoping to find someone alive more than a month after it was destroyed by a huge port explosion that shattered the Lebanese capital. Rescuers said on Thursday that sensors had detected signs of a pulse and breathing under the debris of the building in the Gemmayze district. Mechanical diggers lifted chunks of concrete and masonry as workers used shovels and their
  • Pope all smiles at first public audience in six months, appeals for Lebanon
    VATICAN CITY, September 2 (Reuters): Pope Francis held his weekly general audience in public for the first time in six months on Wednesday, smiling and chatting as he re-emerged from the constraints of the coronavius lockdown. The audience, at which the pope announced a day of prayer and fasting for Lebanon, was held in the San Damaso courtyard of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace and gave him the public contact he thrives on. Visitors had their temperatures checked as they
  • Lebanon's leaders agree on new prime minister before Macron visit
    BEIRUT, August 31 (Reuters): Lebanon's ambassador to Germany Mustapha Adib is set to be designated prime minister on Monday ahead of a visit to Beirut by the French president who will press for long-delayed reforms to steer the Middle East nation out of its deep crisis. Emmanuel Macron, who arrives late on Monday for his second visit in less than a month, has spearheaded international efforts to get Lebanon's fractious leaders to tackle the root causes of a financial me
  • Hezbollah open to discussing new political order in Lebanon, says Nasrallah
    BEIRUT, August 30 (Reuters): Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said on Sunday the powerful Shi'ite movement was open to discussing a new political order in Lebanon if all factions agree to it, as foreign donors press for deep reforms to tackle the country's multiple crises. The presidency has called for parliamentary consultations on Monday to choose a new prime minister after the government, which took office with the backing of Hezbollah and its allies, quit ov
  • Israel strikes Hezbollah posts in Lebanon after firing at troops, military says
    TEL AVIV, August 26 (Reuters): The Israeli military struck what it said were posts belonging to Lebanon's Shi'ite Hezbollah movement early on Wednesday after shots were fired from the other side of the border towards its troops. After a meeting, Lebanon's Supreme Defence Council denounced the incident which it called "an Israeli assault" and said a complaint would be filed to the United Nations. The Lebanese army said on its Twitter account that Israeli he
  • Lebanon's top Sunni cleric urges international investigation into blast
    BEIRUT, August 19 (Reuters): Lebanon's leading Sunni cleric on Wednesday joined calls for early parliamentary elections and an international investigation into the explosion at the Beirut port, which he said deepened the country's existential crisis. At least 179 people were killed and 300,000 left effectively homeless when massive amounts of highly explosive material stored unsafely for years detonated early this month, destroying swathes of the city and prompting the
  • U.N. tribunal convicts main defendant in Hariri assassination case
    LEIDSCHENDAM, Netherlands, August 18 (Reuters): A U.N.-backed tribunal on Tuesday convicted a Hezbollah member of conspiracy to kill former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri in a 2005 bombing that set the stage for years of confrontation between Lebanon's rival political forces. There was insufficient evidence against three other men charged as accomplices in the bombing and they were acquitted, the tribunal found. Judges said they were "satisfied beyond a rea
  • Lebanon tribunal judge: No evidence of involvement by Hezbollah leadership in Hariri's killing
    Leidschendam, NETHERLANDS, August 18 (Reuters): There is no evidence that the leadership of the Iran-backed Shi'ite Muslim group Hezbollah, or the Syrian government, were involved in the 2005 bombing that killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, a judge said on Tuesday. The Special Tribunal for Lebanon is reading the verdict in the trial of four Hezbollah members charged with conspiracy to kill Hariri and 21 others. "The trial chamber is of the view th
  • On eve of Hariri verdict, Lebanese grapple with new ordeal
    BEIRUT, August 17 (Reuters): More than 15 years since Lebanon's Rafik al-Hariri was killed by a massive bomb blast in Beirut, the verdict of a U.N.-backed tribunal into his assassination is due on Tuesday as the country reels from the aftermath of an even bigger explosion. The Aug. 4 port blast, which killed 178 people, has overshadowed the long-awaited verdict. It was the biggest explosion in Lebanon's history and more powerful than the bomb that killed Hariri and 21 o
  • Stranded Lebanese desperate to rebuild after blast
    BEIRUT, August 12 (Reuters): Sitting amid the debris, Lebanese on Wednesday expressed their frustration at the state for abandoning them in their desperate efforts to rebuild after last week's catastrophic Beirut port explosion compounded a dire financial crisis. Lebanon has been plunged into further political uncertainty after the government resigned this week over the Aug. 4 blast that killed at least 171 people, injured some 6,000 and wrecked homes and businesses in larg
  • Lebanon government resigns amid outrage over Beirut blast
    BEIRUT, August 10 (Reuters):  Lebanon's prime minister announced his government's resignation on Monday, saying a huge explosion that devastated the capital and stirred public outrage was the result of endemic corruption. The Aug. 4 detonation at a port warehouse of more than 2,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate killed at least 163 people, injured more than 6,000 and destroyed swathes of the Mediterranean capital, compounding months of political and economic meltd
  • 'They are not just numbers': Missing Beirut silo worker's family clings to hope
    BEIRUT, August 10 (Reuters): Before he went missing on Aug. 4, Ghassan Hasrouty, an employee of Beirut's giant grain silos for 38 years, thought he was working in the safest place in the city. The reinforced concrete walls and underground rooms were his shelter for many days during Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war. He used to tell his family that he was more worried for them than himself when he set out to work each morning. At 1730 on Tuesday, Hasrouty called his wi
  • 'No way we can rebuild': Lebanese count huge losses after Beirut blast
    BEIRUT, August 7 (Reuters): Beirut residents began trying to rebuild their shattered lives on Friday after the biggest blast in the Lebanese capital's history tore into the city, killing at least 154 and leaving the heavily indebted nation with another huge reconstruction bill. The search for those missing since Tuesday's blast intensified overnight, as rescuers sifted rubble in a frantic race to find anyone still alive after the explosion smashed a swathe of the city a
  • Beirut reels from huge blast as death toll climbs to at least 135
    BEIRUT,  August 5 (Reuters): Lebanese rescue workers searched for survivors in the mangled wreckage of buildings and investigators blamed negligence for a massive warehouse explosion that sent a devastating blast wave across Beirut, killing at least 135 people. More than 4,000 people were injured in Tuesday's explosion at Beirut port and up to 250,000 were left without homes fit to live in after shockwaves smashed building facades, sucked furniture out into streets and shat
  • After port blast, Lebanon has less than a month's grain reserves, says minister
    DUBAI, August 5 (Reuters): Lebanon has enough grain reserves for "a bit less than a month" after an explosion at Beirut port destroyed the nation's main silo, Economy Minister Raoul Nehme told Reuters on Wednesday. "We are currently looking for storage areas," Nehme said, adding that Lebanon needed enough inventories to last at least three months to ensure its food security.  
  • Factbox: Background on Lebanon's Hezbollah
    BEIRUT, August 4 (Reuters): Four suspects belonging to Lebanon's armed Shi'ite Hezbollah group have been tried in absentia by the U.N.-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon for the 2005 murder of former Sunni Muslim prime minister Rafik al Hariri. The verdict is due on Friday. Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran and is a close ally of Syria, has denied any role in the 2005 bombing. Here is some background on the group: TRIBUNAL: * Hezbollah's leader, Sayyed Hassa
  • Lebanese Christian cleric seen to criticise Hezbollah, allies over crisis
    BEIRUT, July 12 (Reuters): Lebanon's top Christian cleric stepped up criticism of the Iran-backed Shi'ite group Hezbollah and its allies without naming them on Sunday, saying Lebanese rejected being isolated from their allies and driven into decline.   Lebanon is suffering a financial meltdown which marks the biggest threat to its stability since the 1975-90 civil war.   For the second sermon in a row, Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rai stresse