THE LEVANT NEWS — BEIRUT: An exchange of fire Monday between the Lebanese Army and drug dealers at a north Lebanon nightclub left two soldiers and six others dead, the military and a security source said.

A sergeant-major, a soldier, four suspects and two women were killed during the early morning raid of Wet Club in Maameltein, near Jounieh.

First-Sergeant M.Kh. was transferred to Saint Louis Hospital in Jounieh’s Haret Sakher area, while M.R. was admitted to Kesrouan hospital. They both succumbed to their wounds upon their arrival.

The source identified the suspects as Mohammad Hussein Zeaiter, Mahdi Hussein Zeaiter, Ali Ibrahim Ayyoub and Hamza Bassam Aziz.

Mirna Hassan and an unidentified woman were also killed during the gun battle, while four men and two other women present at the scene were wounded.

It was unclear who fired the bullets that hit the bystanders.

Military Prosecutor Judge Saqr Saqr arrived to inspect the scene and relegated the investigation to the Military Police.

The army said in a statement that the gun battle broke out after they came under fire by the suspected drug dealers.

“When an army patrol entered the night club in Jounieh’s Maameltein at dawn (Monday) to apprehend suspects, wanted offender Mahdi Hussein Zeaiter and his two companions opened fire at the patrol, killing two soldiers, prompting the patrol to respond,” the statement said.

“Zeaiter, another wanted suspect identified as Ahmed Ali Ammar and four other citizens accompanying them were killed,” it added.

The two suspects had 11 search warrants and six arrest warrants against them, the statement continued.

The army cordoned off the area and erected checkpoints, inspecting vehicles and preventing traffic and passersby from approaching.

The Traffic Management Center tweeted that traffic was diverted from the inner routes of Ghazir to the highway due to security measures enforced by the army.

Heavy traffic suffocated the highway following the closure of the seaside road in Jounieh.

Source: The Daily Star