Archive for Friday, May 9, 2008

Sectarian gunbattles break out in Lebanon

May 9, 2008


— Running gunbattles raged in parts of Beirut on Thursday after the leader of Hezbollah accused Lebanon's Western-backed government of declaring war on his Shiite militant group. At least four people were killed and eight wounded in the capital.

In a grim reminder of Lebanon's devastating 1975-90 civil war, factions threw up roadblocks and checkpoints dividing Beirut into sectarian enclaves on the second day of clashes between Sunni Muslims loyal to the government and Shiite supporters of Hezbollah.

A top Sunni leader went on television urging Hezbollah to pull its fighters back and "save Lebanon from hell." The army, which has stayed out of the sectarian political squabbling that has paralyzed the country for more than a year, did not intervene in the battles.

The chattering of automatic weapons and thumps of exploding rocket-propelled grenades echoed across Beirut into the night. People huddled in hallways and stairwells as gunmen rushed from one street corner to the next firing at their foes. Some families fled to neighborhoods that remained quiet.

"There is so much shooting and explosions outside. Our building is in the middle of the fighting," a terrified woman, Ghada Helmi, told The Associated Press by telephone.

Fighting began along Corniche Mazraa, an avenue separating Shiite and Sunni areas, then spread to other districts. Combat was heard near the office of Lebanon's Sunni spiritual leader, an ally of the government, and near the official residence of the opposition-aligned parliament speaker.

In peaceful neighborhoods, people jammed into supermarkets rushing to stockpile food while outside gunmen armed with assault rifles and RPGs peered from building entrances or took cover next to shuttered shops.

The unrest virtually shut down Lebanon's international airport for a second day and barricades closed major highways. Hezbollah first blocked roads in Beirut on Wednesday to enforce a strike called by labor unions, but confrontations quickly spread across the city.

Security officials said Thursday night that a mother and her son were killed when a grenade hit their apartment and two men were shot dead during the Beirut fighting. Eight people were wounded in the city and four more were wounded in a Sunni-Shiite gunbattle in the eastern Bekaa Valley, officials said.

Fighting intensified minutes after Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah made a televised address charging that the government had declared war on his group when it decided this week to shut down Hezbollah's private telecommunications network


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 1 month ago

So rather than "spreading democracy" in the Middle East with its invasion and occupation of Iraq, what BushCo has actually done is spread civil war between Shia and Sunni.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 1 month ago

It's pretty telling that you guy's best "argument" is to pounce on a typo.

Flap Doodle 10 years, 1 month ago

If we could just get David Irving's good buddy over here, this thread would hit the trifecta of LJW's "hate the JOOOS!" posters.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 1 month ago

Robert Fisk, a journalist who's lived there for more than 30 years reports as much-- Israel's invasion of a couple of years ago, with the approval and support of BushCo, is primarily responsible for breaking the fragile truce that had been established.

Flap Doodle 10 years, 1 month ago

snap writes:marion, don't you have a 'forum' of your own to run?Stillhavingawonderfulinternetlife.

TopJayhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

Just where do they think they are? Topeka?Gee, maybe this has to do with Iran getting away lately with whatever they want. It can be argued both ways Bozo, my friend.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 1 month ago

"Gee, maybe this has to do with Iran getting away lately with whatever they want."As long as the US is completely hypocritical about meddling in other country's affairs, and truly getting away with whatever they want (Iran hasn't invaded or occupied anyone,) holding Iran to a higher standard than we set for ourselves (or Israel) will continue to have disastrous results.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 1 month ago

I'm defending Hezbollah or Iran. But as long as they are held to a different standard than either the US or Israel, their behavior will likely never change.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 1 month ago

"My God! Robert Fisk?"Yea, I know you resist info from anyone with long-established credibility.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 1 month ago

"Ahhh, Mr. Credibility:"Yep. One of the few reporting from the Middle East.

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