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Beirut clashes sparked by anti-Hezbollah move

Beirut clashes sparked by anti-Hezbollah move
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Hezbollah militants and their Shi’ite allies from the Amal group overran some predominantly Muslim districts in western Beirut in fighting yesterday. Offices linked to the governing coalition leader Saad al-Hariri and his party were the main targets.

The conflict intensified after Hezbollah’s spiritual leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, gave a defiant response to the government’s action to outlaw its communications system. He described the move as “a declaration of war”.

Hariri has proposed a deal to end the violence under which government decisions that angered Hezbollah would be considered a “misunderstanding”. Hezbollah, however, is demanding that such decisions be rescinded entirely.

Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran and Syria, has led a 17-month-long political campaign against Prime Minister Fouad Siniora’s anti-Syrian cabinet.