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Life returns to normal in beirut after standoff

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Life returns to normal in beirut after standoff

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Life is slowly returning to normal in the Lebanese capital Beirut, after days of violent clashes left vital routes blocked. A deal, mediated by the Arab League, was accepted by the Western-backed government and the Hizbollah-led opposition. Hizbollah agreed to call off its fighters, and re-open roads to the airport and the coast. The two sides will now go to Qatar to try to break the wider political impasse which has paralysed Lebanon for 18 months, and left it without a head of state.

At least 80 people died in clashes between government supporters and Hizbollah gunmen, Lebanon’s worst internal violence since the 15-year civil war ended in 1990.

It was triggered when the government outlawed Hizbollah’s secret communications network, calling it a state-within-a-state.

The army remained neutral during the fighting, but ultimately threatened to mobilise and restore law and order, by force if necessary.