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Beirut clashes sparked by anti-Hezbollah move

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Beirut clashes sparked by anti-Hezbollah move


Hezbollah militants and their Shi’ite allies from the Amal group overran some predominantly Muslim districts in western Beirut in fighting yesterday. Offices linked to the governing coalition leader Saad al-Hariri and his party were the main targets.

The conflict intensified after Hezbollah’s spiritual leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, gave a defiant response to the government’s action to outlaw its communications system. He described the move as “a declaration of war”.

Hariri has proposed a deal to end the violence under which government decisions that angered Hezbollah would be considered a “misunderstanding”. Hezbollah, however, is demanding that such decisions be rescinded entirely.

Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran and Syria, has led a 17-month-long political campaign against Prime Minister Fouad Siniora’s anti-Syrian cabinet.

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