Gunman fires shots at US embassy in Lebanon, army says

BEIRUT, Lebanon — A gunman fired shots at the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon on Wednesday, wounding a security guard before being injured in an exchange of fire with troops, the Lebanese army said.

The attacker, identified as a Syrian national, was detained and taken to a hospital for treatment. Soldiers are searching the area for other potential gunmen.

The U.S. Embassy reported that small arms fire was heard near its entrance in the morning, but confirmed that the facility and its staff were safe. U.S. Ambassador Lisa Johnson is currently traveling outside Lebanon, according to diplomatic sources.

A Lebanese security source told Reuters that Lebanese troops wounded the gunman in the stomach. The source also mentioned that a member of the embassy’s security team was lightly injured. An embassy spokesperson did not respond to inquiries about injuries among the embassy guards.

Reuters verified pictures of the suspected attacker circulating online and geolocated them to near the embassy. Part of the Arabic writing on his vest read “Islamic,” but there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

A Reuters cameraman saw Lebanese security forces setting up checkpoints around the embassy while a U.S.-made helicopter provided to the Lebanese army circled above.

Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati said he was following up on the incident with the defense minister and security forces.

The U.S. Embassy, located north of Beirut, is in a highly secured zone with multiple checkpoints along the route to its entrance. It was moved there from Beirut following a suicide attack in 1983 that killed more than 60 people.

In mid-October, during the early days of the Gaza war, scores of protesters gathered outside the embassy to demonstrate. Lebanese security forces used tear gas and water cannons to disperse them.

Lebanon has been the scene of conflict between Iran-backed Hezbollah and Israel since October, parallel to the Gaza war. Tens of thousands of people on both sides of the Israel-Lebanon border have been displaced amid fears that the conflict will escalate.