LEBANON

You got a problem? I’ve got an AK-47

The CCTV footage of a shooting outside a restaurant in north Lebanon has made its way onto the net. The attack was not fatal, but nevertheless, the images reveal that almost 20 years after the Lebanon war ended, guns are still common accessories, and owners not afraid to use them. Read more and see the video...

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The CCTV footage of a shooting outside a restaurant in north Lebanon has made its way onto the net. The attack was not fatal, but nevertheless, the images reveal that almost 20 years after the Lebanon war ended, guns are still common accessories, and owners not afraid to use them.

The images, recorded in the northern city of Byblos, show a man and his son (who is, incidentally, an army officer) quarrelling with a restaurant owner in the car park of his establishment. The man shoots the restaurant owner in the leg. He's yet to say why.

“Beirut is not the Wild West. Unlike in France , where there are gangs of young thugs who shoot at security forces”

Karim B (not his real name) was a militia fighter in the Lebanon war (1975 - 1990). He now lives between France and Lebanon.

This is hardly headline news; it could have happened in France too - where just recently there have been shootings. It is true that there are a lot of guns going round Lebanon at the moment. After the war, they slowly disappeared, but then in May 2008 when Hezbollah fighters took over West Beirut, everybody got scared again. Although people trust the Lebanese army, just in case things worsen and it turns to war, they want to be able to protect their families.

It's very easy to get hold of arms in Lebanon, and it always has been. With a bit of money, anyone can buy a gun on the black market, despite the strict gun laws. Beirut is not the Wild West; things like this don't happen on a daily basis. Unlike in France, where there are gangs of young thugs who shoot at security forces; like during the suburb riots in 2007. We should be asking where they get hold of their arms in a lawful country like France."

The footage

Video aired by Lebanese TV channel OTV .

6.18pm: a scuffle breaks out between the parking security staff and the aggressor, who is armed with a handgun. 6.32pm: the aggressor returns, this time with an AK-47 and his son. He shoots the restaurant owner in the leg. 6.36pm: the police arrive and try to disarm the aggressor. 6.43pm: an ambulance arrives for the restaurant owner.