New Year celebratory gunfire kills Syrian woman, damages aeroplane in Lebanon - GulfToday

New Year celebratory gunfire kills Syrian woman, damages aeroplane in Lebanon

Lebanese people celebrate the New Year in Beirut on Friday. AFP

Celebratory gunshots to mark the New Year killed a Syrian woman in eastern Lebanon and damaged a parked aeroplane at Beirut airport late on Friday, state media and a company source said.

Stray bullets from such gunfire are a source of constant worry across the country, but Lebanese authorities have struggled to stamp out the often deadly tradition.

The Syrian refugee died "after being wounded in the head by a stray bullet" that fell on her camp in the eastern town of Baalbek, the National News Agency said.

LebanesegirlNewYear-750x450People celebrate the New Year in Beirut. AFP

In the run-up to the New Year's Eve celebrations, security forces on social media had repeatedly warned against firing shots in the air, even specifically mentioning the danger of doing so near the airport. But images circulated on social media showed many people had ignored that advice.

A source from Lebanese carrier Middle East Airlines told AFP gunfire had damaged one of the company's planes parked on the tarmac at Beirut airport.

The Airbus A321neo, only delivered to MEA last year, would need to be repaired but all other planes were undamaged and able to take off as scheduled, the source said.

Shooting from guns and rifles into the air in celebration is common in some parts of Lebanon at events such as weddings, funerals, when political leaders give speeches — and even when a student passes high school exams.

Officially, celebratory gunfire is illegal in Lebanon, where firearm ownership remains widespread three decades after the end of its 1975-1990 civil war.

In September, Lebanese football player Mohamed Atwi died after being injured the previous month by a stray bullet.

Agence France-Presse

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