"An Al-Jadeed live coverage van Thursday was set on fire by unidentified assailants at the channel's headquarters in Beirut," a source told The Daily Star.
According to the newspaper, security employees rushed outside Al Jadeed's studio in the Wata Moseitbeh neighborhood after they heard an explosion-like sound at around 3:15 a.m. Once outside, they discovered that one of their live coverage vans was up in flames.
"The local TV station said that two unidentified men had broken into their headquarters and set fire to the van."
After the fire was extinguished, police arrived at the scene and are now investigating whether the attack was premeditated or caused by a mechanical accident.
Al Jadeed's deputy chief editor, Karma Khayat, believes the attack was premeditated and has accused Speaker Nabih Berri's Amal Movement of instigating it.
Speaking to LBCI she said, "every time we mention or criticize Nabih Berri in a report or program, we are attacked."
Berri's press office responds
Al Khayyat's claims were quickly denied in a statement released by Berri's press office.
"Khayat approached us with fabrications and lies, this has become a habit... we hope that the judiciary takes into account this [statement] and carries out its responsibilities before Khayat travels in the next two days to Monte Carlo to celebrate her marriage," the statement read.
Lebanon's Information Minister Melhem Riachi visited the channel on Thursday and denounced the attack saying, "this is totally rejected ... we need practical results."
Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk also toured the channel's premises to inspect the damage.
In a statement following the attack, the channel’s lawyer, May Halabi, said that this is the fourth attack of its kind to target the channel in the past six months.
Halabi asked government officials to take action and criticized security forces for not pursuing the assailants for previous assaults, saying "we will not allow this farce to pass."
Freedom of the press compromised
Even though Lebanon is hailed by many as a beacon of freedom in the Middle East, it ranked 99 out of 180 countries in the 2017 report on press freedom published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
The report investigated freedom of media and journalists in 180 countries and found that "democracies, as well as dictatorships, had increasingly clamped down on press freedom."
According to the report, Mauritania is still the freest country in the MENA region when it comes to the press, ranked at number 55, while Syria is the worst, ranked at 177.