Factional fighting spreads in Lebanon

08 May 2008
Violent clashes between government loyalists and Hezbollah supporters spread beyond the Lebanese capital on 8 May as fighting broke out in the Bekaa Valley in the east of the country.

Hezbollah accused the government of declaring war by threatening to dismantle its private telecommunications network and removing the Hezbollah-linked head of airport security from his post. The cabinet on 6 May said the communication network was a threat to the country’s sovereignty.

Roadblocks set up by Hezbollah supporters paralysed the capital and closed access to Beirut International Airport for a second day. Lebanon’s national carrier, Middle East Airlines, announced that it was cancelling flights until it could reassess the situation.

The latest clashes began on 7 May during a Hezbollah-backed labour union strike calling for pay raises. The demonstration quickly deteriorated into fighting between pro-government and Hezbollah factions.

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