June 24, 2008

Tripoli Battles Rage for Second Day

Fierce factional fighting in Tripoli, Lebanon, continued Monday for a second day as residents fled or hid in underground shelters, a security official said.

An unnamed Lebanese security official told al-Alam Satellite TV at least two people had been wounded in the latest fighting, in which backers of Lebanon's pro-Western government are battling al-Awite supporters of the opposition with heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

Four people were killed and 33 wounded in Tripoli Sunday.

The clashes are coming as Prime Minister Fuad Siniora attempts to form a new national unity government have stalled. The deal was hammered out last month in Doha between his backers and followers of the militant Islamic group Hezbollah, ending an 18-month political crisis, al-Alam reported.

But, it said, fears the near-civil war might resume have mounted in recent days with clashes erupting in Tripoli and elsewhere in Lebanon.