BEIRUT, Lebanon — Investigators with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) had a rude awakening yesterday after being attacked by angry Lebanese citizens in the course of a routine information-gathering mission.
Upon visiting a gynecological clinic in al-Dahiyeh — a southern suburb of Beirut and stronghold of the Shiite party Hizbullah — a crowd of angry women attacked the investigators and reportedly stole a briefcase from them. A condemnation of the attack by the Netherlands-based Special Tribunal was echoed by various Lebanese political parties as well as the United States.
The attack “is a deplorable attempt to obstruct justice,” the tribunal said in the statement. “Those who carried out this attack must know that violence will not deter the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, a court of law, from fulfilling its mandate.”
Reports are now emerging that some of the attackers were men dressed as women in full-length burqas, and Future Movement official Mustafa Allouch told reporters that the attack was “a clear message from Hizbullah to the STL.”
Meanwhile, the Hizbullah television station Al-Manar stated that the incident was “a blatant attack by the international investigating commission on a gynecological clinic,” and noted that “the women’s response was spontaneous and firm.”
The Qnion has learned that after receiving medical attention later that day, the STL investigators insisted on continuing with their duties rather than returning to The Hague.
“We weren’t going to let the attack deter us from finishing what we started,” said Geert van Whiffenpoof, the team leader. “We had other places to visit and important information to gather.”
However, the investigators were soon to discover that public opposition to their activities was not confined to the women of al-Dahiyeh.
The first stop the UN team made upon leaving the American University of Beirut Hospital was a small farm on the outskirts of Sidon, in order to question its owner, one Sa’eed Ghadban, about his acquaintance with one of the suspects in the Hariri assassination.
Upon leaving the farmhouse, however, the team encountered a large crowd of animals — cows, goats, horses, sheep, and other beasts — blocking their exit.
“They were really angry,” said Jan van Snurkensnuffle. “They were braying and mooing and quacking. It was actually quite terrifying.”
A flock of chickens charged the investigators who managed to escape unharmed.
Reports are now emerging that some of the attackers were men dressed in animal costumes, and Future Movement official Mustafa Allouch told reporters again that the attack was “a clear message from Hizbullah to the STL.”
For its part, the Hizbullah television station Al-Manar stated that the incident was “a blatant attack by the international investigating commission on a humble farm” and noted that “the animals’ response was spontaneous and firm.”
Upon returning to their hotel that evening, the investigators decided to make a stop at Barbar, a popular local eatery.
“They have the best shawarma I’ve ever had,” gushed Willem Beentrekker. “I love going there after a long hard day’s work.”
Unfortunately, within hours of downing the meal, all three men found themselves waylaid by severe stomach cramps, nausea, and diarrhea. After a long and sleepless night with alternating visits to the hotel bathroom, the three investigators boarded a flight to the Hague this morning.
Future Movement official Mustafa Allouch told reporters again that the indigestion was “a clear message from Hizbullah to the STL.”
For its part, the Hizbullah television station Al-Manar stated that the incident was “a blatant violation of sovereignty by the international investigating commission on proud Lebanese foodstuffs” and noted that “the shawrma‘s response was spontaneous and firm.”