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Lebanon military court to ask LF's Geagea for statement on street violence

Christian Lebanese Forces party leader Samir Geagea gestures as he speaks during an interview with AFP at his house in Maarab, northeast of Beirut, on April 26, 2012. AFP PHOTO/JOSEPH EID (Photo credit should read JOSEPH EID/AFP/GettyImages)
Christian Lebanese Forces party leader Samir Geagea gestures as he speaks during an interview with AFP at his house in Maarab, northeast of Beirut, on April 26, 2012. AFP PHOTO/JOSEPH EID (Photo credit should read JOSEPH EID/AFP/GettyImages)

A Lebanese military court will ask Lebanese Forces (LF) party leader, Samir Geagea, to give a statement about last week's Beirut street violence, sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Thursday.

Geagea, who was due to appear shortly on a local television show, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

An LF spokesperson said Geagea had, so far, not been informed of any court request to give a statement.

The bloodshed, in which seven Shias were killed, was the worst Lebanon had seen in over a decade and the Iran-backed Shia Hezbollah group has accused the Christian Lebanese Forces of being responsible for it, a charge denied by Geagea.

The event, which lasted several hours and stirred memories of the 1975-1990 civil war, added to fears for the stability of a country that is awash with weapons and suffering an economic meltdown.

The gunfire started as protesters were on their way to a demonstration called for by Hezbollah and its Shia ally, Amal, against the lead investigator of the deadly Beirut port blast probe.

The LF blamed the violence on Hezbollah "incitement" against the judge and accused the group of sending its supporters into the Christian neighbourhood of Ain al-Remmaneh, where it says four residents were wounded before a shot was fired.

Hezbollah's chief, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, made a scathing verbal attack on Geagea and his party in a televised speech on Monday and accused the group of trying to drag the country into civil war.

Geagea's upcoming comments in Thursday's interview to the local MTV channel show will be the first since Nasrallah's speech.

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