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Six more killed in Beirut clashes
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10:32, May 11, 2008

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Six people were killed and at least 35 injured in a gunfight during a funeral ceremony in a Sunni neighborhood west of Beirut on Saturday, bringing the death toll of Lebanese riots to 24, local LBC TV reported.

The gunbattle erupted when some supporters of majority leader MP Saad Hariri were holding a funeral for a member of Hariri's Future Movement in Tarik Jedideh neighborhood of western Beirut, said the report.

The pan-Arabic Al-Arabia TV reported that eyewitnesses saw gunmen of the Lebanese Parliament speaker's Amal Movement shooting at the funeral crowds, which was immediately denied by the Shiite group.

Local NBN TV, mouthpiece of the opposition Amal Movement, said Al-Arabia office in Dubai reported dummy news for provocation and stirring up the already tense situation in Beirut.

The deadly clashes ignited Wednesday one day after the Lebanese cabinet decided to cease the private communication network of Hezbollah, and remove the only international airport's security chief Gen. Wafik Shqaier for alleged links to Hezbollah.

Hezbollah considered such decisions as "a declaration of war against the resistance."

Lebanon is currently facing the most serious political deadlock since the end of the 1975-1990 civil war. For the first time in its history, the presidential seat has been vacant for months since Nov. 24 of 2007 when former President Emile Lahoud stepped down.

The presidency deadlock deepened the Lebanese political crisis as fears are mounting that failure in reaching a deal on the presidential candidate could result in more violence in the country.

Source: Xinhua

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