Confusion reigned on Thursday over the dead man's affiliation, with local TV stations claiming he was a member of the Amal movement, and Lebanese security sources saying he was a Hizb Allah fighter.

Hizb Allah, the anti-Israeli resistance group and potent political force in Lebanon, refused to speculate on the dead man's identity.

A dispute between members of the two Shia Muslim political groups was ignited over the posting of political fliers and escalated into a gunfight leaving one killed and others wounded, Aljazeera correspondent Maya Beydoun said.

Personal grudge

The row was not a political matter, but a personal grudge between two men that got out of control, a Hizb Allah source said.

The Lebanese army swiftly surrounded the area in the Maamoura district of South Beirut, and made a number of arrests, but did not comment on how many people they were holding.

The row was not a political matter, but a personal grudge between two men that got out of control, a Hizb Allah source said.

Before the emergence of Hizb Allah in 1982, the Amal movement was among the main parties fighting Israeli occupation.

Led by House Speaker Nabih Berri, Amal is now competing with Hizb Allah over the leadership of the Shia community, the largest in Lebanon.