Dozens dead after battles near Beirut

 Dozens dead after battles near Beirut
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Control of several Lebanese villages loyal to pro-government Druze leader Walid Jumblatt has been handed to the army after an attack by Hizbollah. At least 36 people were killed in the fighting in Aaley and the surrounding region, east of Beirut, yesterday. The battle eased after Jumblatt asked a rival Druze leader allied to the Shi’ite Islamist movement to mediate an end to the fighting.

Arab League foreign ministers have held an emergency meeting in Cairo and agreed to send a mediation delegation to Beirut.

Secretary General Amr Moussa said that a meeting of the League had called on the Lebanese speaker, the Lebanese prime minister and leaders of the opposition to attend a meeting with an Arab League committee.

An 18-month political stand-off between the Hizbollah-led opposition and the Western-backed government erupted last week, raising fears of a return to civil war.

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