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Hezbollah wants to remove judge investigating Beirut port blast

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The Lebanese Hezbollah terror group and its allies called Wednesday for the removal of the judge leading the probe into last year’s massive explosion at Beirut’s port. The move could derail the country’s new government even before it begins tackling Lebanon’s unprecedented economic crisis.

A cabinet meeting was canceled Wednesday after Hezbollah demanded urgent government action against the judge. One Hezbollah-allied minister said he and other cabinet members would stage a walkout if Judge Tarek Bitar isn’t removed; protests against the judge were called for Thursday.

The Iran-backed Hezbollah and allied senior Lebanese politicians have been assailing Bitar for weeks, accusing him of singling out politicians for questioning, most of them allied with Hezbollah. None of Hezbollah’s officials have so far been charged in the 14-month-old investigation. The probe was temporarily suspended Tuesday amid legal challenges against Bitar.

Hezbollah lawmaker Hassan Fadallah took the criticism a step further Wednesday. He claimed the United States was interfering in the investigation, seeking to implicate Hezbollah and its allies, and dictating how the probe should go.

The remarks by Fadallah were in response to US State Department spokesperson Ned Price’s criticism of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s call earlier in the week that called for........

© The Times of Israel

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