Hezbollah seizes large parts of Beirut

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Hezbollah seizes large parts of Beirut

Post by scarface on May 9th 2008, 5:30 am

Fri May 9, 2008 12:40pm IST

By Tom Perry

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Hezbollah gunmen took control of large areas of Beirut on Friday in a third day of fighting between the pro-Iranian group and fighters loyal to the U.S.-backed governing coalition.

Security sources said at least 10 people had been killed and 20 wounded. The thud of exploding grenades and crackle of automatic gunfire echoed across the city in the worst internal strife since the 1975-90 civil war.

Gunmen loyal to Hezbollah forced the pro-government Future News television off the air, said a senior official at the Beirut station. Future News is owned by Saad al-Hariri, a Sunni politician and leader of the governing coalition.

The security sources said Hezbollah and fighters from the allied Amal movement -- both Shi'ite groups -- had overrun offices of Hariri's Future group across the predominantly Muslim western half of Beirut.

Gunmen had also taken over the offices of Hariri's Al-Mustaqbal newspaper, witnesses said. Smoke billowed from the building's windows.

The dead included a woman and her 30-year-old son, who were killed when trying to flee Ras al-Nabae -- a mixed Sunni-Shi'ite Beirut district and scene of some of the heaviest clashes.

"They were trying to flee to the mountains. Instead of reaching the mountains, they reached the hospital, dead," said a relative of the victims, who declined to give her full name because of security fears. "It's my worst nightmare."

In scenes reminiscent of the darkest days of the civil war, young men armed with assault rifles roamed the streets amid smashed cars and smouldering buildings.

http://in.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idINIndia-33489620080509
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Hezbollah militias assume control of western Beirut

Post by scarface on May 9th 2008, 5:40 am

BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNN) -- Western Beirut fell under the control of opposition Hezbollah militias Friday in what amounted to an army-negotiated surrender of pro-government positions, Lebanese Internal Security Forces and Western military observers said.

The "dramatic development" is a major blow to the democratically elected and pro-Western government of Lebanon, CNN's Brent Sadler said.

Soldiers went to several offices of pro-government political parties in western Beirut overnight, he said. They persuaded pro-government gunmen who had battled Hezbollah militants to leave the offices as Hezbollah militants hovered nearby, he said.

At least 11 have been killed and 44 wounded since the beginning of the clashes, according to Lebanese Internal Security Forces.

The renewed fighting came as two pro-government television stations -- Future TV and al-Ekhbariya TV -- ceased operations Friday.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/05/09/beirut.violence/index.html

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