Lebanese Shia groups exchange fire

Followers of the two rival Shia Muslim groups have clashed in a south Lebanon town, sending frightened residents fleeing into the surrounding countryside.

    Clashes have occasionally flared between the two movements

    Scuffles erupted on Saturday night in Zibdine after

    Hizb Allah supporters accused members of the Amal movement of

    trying to disturb a celebration they were holding there, both

    Amal-aligned mayor Anis Kubaisi and a Hizb Allah spokesman said

    .

    Tensions escalated into armed clashes on Sunday morning. R

    esidents of nearby villages said automatic weapon fire

    could be heard echoing for miles around.

    Heavy fighting eased by early afternoon after Lebanese

    security forces entered Zibdine, which sits atop a hill

    80km south of the capital Beirut, witnesses and

    security sources said.

    One wounded

    A Lebanese security source told Aljazeera that one person, Husayn Fuani, was injured in the clashes.

    Hizb Allah and Amal officials, who had asked Lebanese

    security forces to intervene, were due to meet in the south

    later to discuss the incident, a Hizb Allah spokesman said.

    Clashes have occasionally erupted between Hizb Allah and Amal

    followers over where to hang party flags or pictures of their

    leaders, sometimes resulting in deaths, but Sunday's confrontation was

    the heaviest clash in years.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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