At least 12 soldiers have been killed in Lebanon in fighting between the army and Sunni militants in Sidon.
The clashes began on Sunday in a suburb of the town when an army checkpoint was attacked by supporters of a hardline Sunni cleric.
Twenty-four hours later the violence was still going on. It is linked to the war in neighbouring Syria, which has divided Lebanon between mostly Shi’ite supporters and mostly Sunni opponents of the Syrian government.
The cleric, Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir, and his followers are hostile to Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria, where the Lebanese militant group is fighting alongside President al-Assad’s forces.
The army checkpoint in Sidon was attacked after one of the cleric’s supporters was reportedly arrested there.
Dozens of soldiers are said to have been wounded. Meanwhile shelling is reported to have hit other parts of the town.
Elections that were due to have taken place this month have been postponed due to security concerns over Syria.