BEIRUT: A group of women charged at investigators from a UN probe into the murder of ex-premier Rafiq Hariri at a Beirut gynecology clinic Wednesday, snatching a briefcase but causing no injuries, a doctor said.
Doctor Iman Sharara, who runs the private obstetrics and gynecology clinic, told reporters a team of two male investigators and their female translator arrived at her practice mid-morning on a scheduled appointment.
"They asked me for the phone numbers of between 14 and 17 people who visited my practice since 2003 and I told them it would take me some time to review my files," she said at her clinic in the Hezbollah-controlled southern suburb of Beirut.
When she opened the door to inform her secretary of the files needed, Sharara said she was surprised to see a crowd of some 30 women had stormed the waiting room although she had canceled all appointments that morning.
A security source told AFP the angry women rushed towards the interrogators, shouting insults at them, and managed to wrangle a briefcase from the pair who escaped unscathed.
"The Office of the Prosecutor takes this incident very seriously and we are currently looking into it," the media relations unit of the Hague-based Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) told AFP by email.
MP Yassine Jaber of the Shia Amal movement, an ally of Hezbollah, said the incident was a sign the tribunal was "not welcome" in Lebanon, in an interview with local television.
The UN-backed STL was set up by a 2007 UN resolution to find and try the killers of Hariri, who was assassinated in a massive Beirut bombing on February 14, 2005.
Lebanon is facing a full-blown crisis over the tribunal as unconfirmed reports indicate it is set to accuse members of Shia militant group Hezbollah.
Hezbollah has confirmed several of its members, both male and female, have been interrogated in connection with the Hariri murder.
The Syrian- and Iranian-backed party has also accused the United Nations of interfering in Lebanese affairs and warned such an eventuality will have repercussions in Lebanon, calling instead for a local investigation.
Saudi-backed Sunni Prime Minister Saad Hariri, son of the slain ex-premier, has meanwhile vowed to see the tribunal through.