Clashes in Lebanon's south kill one, injure five

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The Lebanese army deploy in the southern town of Sidon's eastern suburb of Abra, on 18 June 2013 after shooting by gunmen loyal to the controversial Salafi Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir. (Photo: AFP - Mahmoud Zayyat)

Published Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Updated 8:30 pm: Clashes between armed supporters of Salafi Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir and members of the Sous family left one person dead and four injured near Lebanon’s southern city of Sidon on Tuesday.

Among the injured was AFP photographer Joseph Barrak, state news said.

Lebanon’s army deployed to Abra during a lull in the hours of intense fighting in a bid to prevent the violence from erupting again.

The National News Agency (NNA) said that the clashes were sparked after pro-Assir gunmen attacked a grocery store owned by a member of the Sous family.

In response, an assailant allegedly connected to the family attacked a vehicle owned by Assir’s brother, Amjad.

The NNA report quoted Assir as telling his followers “we will not remain silent over this criminal act,” in reference to the attack on his brother’s car, during a meeting inside Abra’s Bilal bin Rabah mosque.

Assir’s loyalists then took the streets and began firing machine guns and rocket propelled grenades at residential apartments in the area.

Sidon has been rocked by sporadic violence between supporters of the provocative sheikh and their opponents over the past year.

Two men were killed and several others injured in Sidon last November during clashes sparked after Assir, who is from the city, demanded that Hezbollah banners be removed.



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