Hizbollah in control of western parts of Beirut

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Hizbollah in control of western parts of Beirut

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Hizbollah has tightened its grip on western districts of Beirut as relative calm returns to the streets.

Lebanese army tanks and soldiers have managed to bring some parts of the city back under their control, but armed militants loyal to Hizbollah and other Iranian-backed opposition groups have driven pro-government troops from predominantly Sunni Muslim areas.

Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and several of his cabinet ministers are holed up in heavily guarded offices.

Militants have fired rocket-propelled grenades at the home of Saad al-Hariri, another prominent leader in the anti-Syrian ruling coalition.

They also attacked and set fire to television, newspaper and radio offices owned by Hariri, before relinquishing control of them back to the army.

Local residents and foreign nationals have been fleeing western Beirut, many of them heading for the Syrian border.

Three days of fighting in the Lebanese capital have left at least 11 people dead, most of them civilians.

It has been described as the worst violence Beirut has witnessed since the 1975-1990 civil war.

Saudi Arabia and Egypt have reiterated their support for the Lebanese government and called for an emergency meeting of Arab League ministers.