10 held over Beirut clash as government mulls arms control

Last Updated: Tuesday, August 31, 2010 - 11:19

Beirut: Ten people have been arrested over
a deadly Beirut street clash, Lebanon`s army chief said in a
newspaper report on Tuesday, ahead of government talks on
tightening arms controls in the capital.

"Army operations in the area are ongoing ... and we have
arrested 10 persons and not just four" as was previously
reported, General Jean Kahwaji said, quoted by the
Arabic-language daily As-Safir.
"What is required is that no one ignite a fire and then
demand the army put it out," he said.

The August 24 clash shook the Burj Abi Haidar district of
mainly Muslim west Beirut, pitting supporters of Shiite
movement Hezbollah against those of Sunni group Al-Ahbash, two
parties with warm ties to Damascus.

The fight, which reportedly began as a row over a parking
space and escalated into a battle with automatic arms and
rocket-propelled grenades, left three people dead, including
Hezbollah official Mohammed Fawaz, and 11 wounded.

It again put widespread armament in Beirut in the
limelight and raised fears of a repeat of May 2008, when
gunmen supporting a Hezbollah-led alliance staged a takeover
of west Beirut. About 100 people died in the week-long
battle.

The interior and defence ministers held talks with Prime
Minister Saad Hariri today on arms controls in Beirut and a
meeting was scheduled of Lebanon`s top defence council for
Tuesday to examine "a series of measures."
The premier`s office said the council has been asked to
look at "the phenomenon of the proliferation of weapons held
by citizens."

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, August 31, 2010 - 11:19

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