3 killed in clashes between Hizbullah, Ahbash elements
Resistance demands surrender of Fawaz's killers
By The Daily Star 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

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BEIRUT: Three men were killed in Beirut on Tuesday in clashes between 
supporters of Shiite group Hizbullah and a Sunni faction, Al-Ahbash, security 
sources said. 

Mohammad Fawaz, a Hizbullah official, his aide Munzer Hadi and Fawez Omeirat 
from Al-Ahbash were killed in clashes sparked by a fight between a supporter of 
Hizbullah and another from Al-Ahbash in the mixed Sunni-Shiite Beirut 
neighborhood of Burj Abi Haidar in Beirut. 

But late on Tuesday Hizbullah and Al-Ahbash issued a joint statement following 
a meeting at the offices of the Lebanese Army Intelligence Unit in Beirut 
saying the clash was "an isolated one and does not carry any political and 
sectarian undertones." 

However, Hizbullah later demanded the surrender of four persons involved in the 
killing of Fawaz, warning that it would interfere militarily if its demand was 
not met, according to reports.

The Association of Islamic Charitable Projects, better known as Al-Ahbash, is a 
pro-Syrian conservative Sunni Muslim group, rival to many other Sunni groups in 
the country, including Premier Saad Hariri's Future Movement and the hard-line 
Al-Jamaa al-Islamiya. 

Hizbullah and Al-Ahbash also agreed to "contain the incident and end it 
immediately, as well as banning all armed presence in the area so as to deal 
with all the repercussions of the incident," the statement added. 

Also, the statement said the Lebanese Army has started an investigation into 
the incident, with both Hizbullah and Al-Ahbash vowing not to protect anyone 
who endangers security and stability. 

As The Daily Star went to press, calm was restored in Burj Abi Haidar and the 
neighborhoods of Zkak al-Blat, Basta, Hay al-Leja and Mazraa, where the 
fighting spread. However, new clashes were heard in the Beirut neighborhood of 
Ras al-Nabaa. 

A well-informed security source told The Daily Star that a personal fight 
between a supporter of Hizbullah and another of Al-Ahbash erupted just after 
7:00 pm (1600 GMT) in Burj Abi Haidar and escalated into a firefight. 

The source said the fight started when the Hizbullah supporter tried to park 
his car near the Al-Ahbash Mosque in the area but the Al-Ahbash supporter would 
not let him, which led supporters of both parties to intervene in the clash. 

Afterward, the Al-Ahbash supporter fired shots from a machine gun, injuring 
four Hizbullah supporters. Hizbullah then cordoned off the area surrounding the 
Al-Ahbash Center and Mosque. Other reports said Hizbullah supporters fired at 
Al-Ahbash-owned shops and an AP photographer said angry crowds set fire to an 
Al-Ahbash mosque in Basta. The clashes escalated and machine guns and rocket 
propelled grenades were used, the sources and witnesses said. 

The army intervened to restore calm, with troops cordoning off the area and 
firing warning shots into the air. - The Daily Star, with agencies

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