|05-09-2008, 03:33 AM||#1|
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Lebanese gunmen shut down media
Beirut's at 'it' again...
Gunmen loyal to Hezbollah have shut a pro-government TV station and newspaper as battles continued between the group and Lebanese government supporters.
Future News, owned by Saad Hariri, the leader of the pro-Western governing coalition, went off the air as fighting entered a third day.
The offices of Mr Hariri's al-Mustaqbal newspaper were reportedly set ablaze by opposition gunmen.
Fighting erupted over a government move to shut Hezbollah's telecoms network.
At least 10 people, mainly civilians, have been killed and more than 20 injured in several parts of the city since the clashes began.
The United Nations Security Council urged the rival parties to stop fighting immediately amid fears of a return to civil war.
Correspondents say the bloodshed amounts to the worst internal strife since Lebanon's 1975-90 civil war.
'Save Lebanon from hell'
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah called Tuesday's move to close the movement's telecommunications network a "declaration of war".
He vowed to "cut off the hand" behind the decision, in a speech on Thursday.
Clashes continued into Friday morning as gunmen fought with rifles and grenade launchers in central and southern areas of the city.
The unrest virtually shut down Lebanon's international airport for a third day as burning barricades closed major highways in Beirut.
Earlier, the Lebanese army command warned its unity was at risk if the ongoing political crisis and civil unrest in Beirut continued.
Mr Hariri has called on gunmen from both sides to withdraw from the streets "to save Lebanon from hell".
The Sunni leader also said Hezbollah should lift its "siege" of Beirut, and called for a meeting with Sheikh Nasrallah as soon as possible.
Mr Hariri also proposed a compromise on the government decision to close down Hezbollah's telecommunications network, calling it a "misunderstanding" and saying the army would have the final call.
On Tuesday, the government declared the group's fixed-line network covering its strongholds of south and east Lebanon, and southern Beirut, illegal, saying it was a threat to state security.
Sheikh Nasrallah had earlier said his group's military wing regarded the network as "the most important part" of its defensive measures.
FIGHT!! FIGHT!! FIGHT!!