Middle East News
Clashes erupt in Beirut, killing one person (Roundup)
Jun 28, 2009, 18:42 GMT
Beirut - At least one woman was killed and three others wounded Sunday when clashes erupted in Beirut between followers of the Western-backed ruling majority and those of the Hezbollah-led opposition, Lebanese police said.
Clashes erupted with machine-gun fire and rocket-propelled grenades launched between followers of Prime Minister Saad Hariri and those loyal to Shiite House Speaker Nabih Berri in the populated areas of Aiyshe Bakar and Mar Elias, the police said.
At least one woman was killed and three others were wounded, the police said.
A Lebanese army statement said 'orders were given to troops to shoot any gunmen in the street.'
A Lebanese army officer near the scene of the clashes told the German Press Agency dpa, that 'the situation is now contained and soldiers are positioned in the tensed areas.'
Dozens of army soldiers backed by tanks were seen searching buildings in the areas of the clashes, looking for escaping gunmen.
Panic-stricken Beirut residents told dpa that the machinegun fire were heavy and that they had to hide in a stairwell.
'We were sitting in the living room and suddenly a personal dispute turned into a battle in the street and we have to hide in safe areas to protect ourselves and the children,' Sana al Malla, who lives in Aiyshe Bakar, told dpa.
Earlier, ambulances with wailing sirens were heard across the capital as clashes continued and spread to nearby areas.
The clashes came a day after Hariri was named prime minister of the country. Hariri vowed Saturday to unite Lebanon's citizens.
In May 2008, bitter clashes pitted followers of Hariri's Future Current Movement and the Hezbollah-led opposition, leaving at least 50 people dead.