Lebanese soldiers killed in Sidon clashes

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Lebanese soldiers killed in Sidon clashes

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After two days of clashes, Lebanese soldiers have taken control of a mosque complex holding gunmen loyal to a radical Islamist cleric in Sidon.

At least 16 soldiers have been killed in the violence in the city, which is around 40 kilometres south of the capital Beirut.

Fighting broke out in Sidon after Lebanese security forces detained a follower of hardline Sunni Islamist cleric Sheik Ahmed al-Assir. His supporters retaliated by opening fire on an army checkpoint.

Lebanon’s sectarian tensions have escalated since the country’s Shia Islamist group Hezbollah sent fighters to Syria to back the forces of President Bashar al-Assad.