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Calm in Beirut but combat erupts elsewhere

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Calm in Beirut but combat erupts elsewhere


After days of fighting in which Hizbollah seized control of Muslim west Beirut from pro-government militias a relative calm has returned to the city. Two people were killed, however, in a shooting at the funeral of a pro-government supporter. The circumstances were not clear.

The Lebanese army is patrolling in many areas but has not interfered with Hizbollah militants manning checkpoints in other parts. There was little activity on the streets, however, reflecting anxiety among residents of fresh outbreaks of violence.

Those who did venture out voiced their concerns. “We’ve had enough. Let’s hope they talk to each other and end this. We want to live. We are one people in the end, “ one woman said. “They have to stop this. We are tired. We’re good citizens. Young people are fleeing but who’ll feed us, whose door can we knock on,” a man said.

The conflict that has claimed at least 24 lives in the past four days spread beyond Beirut overnight with reports of clashes in Tyre, Sidon and Tripoli. It was triggered by a government clampdown on Hizbollah’s communication’s network that the Shi’ite group branded a “declaration of war.”

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