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UN chief slams attacks on Lebanese army


09:24, June 25, 2013

UNITED NATIONS, June 24 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday condemned the attacks against Lebanon's army in the country's southern city of Sidon, urging unified support for the Lebanese President Michel Sleiman.

"The secretary-general is following with deep concern the latest developments in Sidon in Lebanon," said a statement issued here by his spokesperson.

"He condemned the attacks on the Lebanese Armed Forces which have led to serious losses in the army", extending "his condolences to the families of the victims and to the government of Lebanon," said the statement.

Ban stressed that all in Lebanon should fully respect the authority of the state and its institutions under the leadership of President Sleiman, "in particular the Lebanese Armed Forces whose role is essential to protect all Lebanese."

"The international community remains united in its support for Lebanon's sovereignty, security and stability," the statement noted.

In the statement, the UN chief also reminded all concerned in Lebanon of their responsibility to avoid conflict and uphold the principles of mutual respect and coexistence in order to preserve Lebanon's national unity.

Clashes erupted in Sidon on Sunday after supporters of radical Sunni cleric Sheikh Ahmad Al-Assir attacked an army checkpoint near the Abra roadblock, the stronghold of Al-Assir, following days of fighting in the city with supporters of Shiite Hezbollah.

At least 12 Lebanese soldiers were killed and 50 others injured in the clashes, according to the Lebanese army, whereas other media said the death toll had reached 16.

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