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Meera Shamma 08 May 2017

24-Year-Old School Teacher Shot Dead In Zahle: Another Sad Reminder Of The Need For Stricter Gun Control In Lebanon

Early Sunday morning in Zahle, a young schoolteacher was standing outside of a pub where she appeared to be idly waiting for her car. In front of her, a small car accident had taken place. Police had been called in order to take care of the accident, and a few bystanders stood by the young girl, named Sara Issam Sleiman.

Moments later a car approaches, allegedly driven by a man named Taha Masri (also known as Kassem Masri), who, when asked to move his car by security, begins a shooting rampage directed towards the bystanders waiting for their cars. It has since been reported that Masri is still on the loose, having fled the scene after the incident.

Sara, a 24-year-old schoolteacher from the Bekaa, was shot in the head. She died Sunday morning.

A video has circulated online from a surveillance camera outside the venue where Sara was shot. It is reported that three other people were injured and are currently being treated in the hospital.

This incident is another sad reminder of the need for stricter gun control laws in Lebanon. According to Lebanese law, gun ownership is strictly prohibited without having a permit – but permits are easily accessible and the process often involves a lot of loopholes, making the laws more elusive than they are effective.

Another factor is the lack of implementation of gun laws, allowing for people like the alleged killer to be comfortable enough posting pictures flaunting their guns on social media platforms without the fear of being reprimanded. The individual who allegedly shot the gun is notorious for his gun-loving behavior, and his profile picture on Facebook even shows him posing while holding a gun with pride.

The video of the incident can be seen below. We normally wouldn’t partake in circulating such grim footage, but we think that in this case it is necessary to depict the tragic nature of this crime, in hopes that it will help spread awareness about gun control in Lebanon.

Sara was an organ donor. Her organs were donated to those in need. Her legacy will not be forgotten by her family and friends and those whose lives she helped save. It is reported that Sara’s organs have already saved five peoples’ lives.

There will be a march starting at 6 PM today from Sara’s village, Bednayel, to the place where she was killed in Zahle – organized by the president of Mishaal Sports Club (Muhanad Sleiman) in memory of Sara’s life, in support of the three individuals in the hospital, and to spread awareness of the need for better regulated gun control laws in Lebanon.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Sara’s family and loved ones, and we wish those in hospital a speedy and full recovery.