Beirut calm as violence reported in other parts of Lebanon
A calm settled over west Beirut on Saturday, a day after Hizbullah gunmen seized control of large parts of the predominantly Sunni sector of the Lebanese capital. Traffic resumed in neighborhoods that had been largely deserted since Thursday, and cleaning crews cleared the debris from streets.
The army was still out in full force and some streets remained blocked. The airport road also remained closed.
At least 15 people were reported killed around Lebanon since Wednesday.
The unrest led to urgent international appeals for calm as Arab foreign ministers prepared to hold an emergency meeting on the crisis on Sunday. The pro-government An Nahar daily on Saturday quoted an official source as saying "Hizbullah has staged a coup in Beirut similar to Hamas' coup in Gaza."
On Friday, the pro-government March 14 forces accused Hizbullah of attempting a coup so Syria and Iran can control Lebanon. "Violence will not terrorize us, but it will increase our resolve," Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea said after the meeting of the coalition's members at his residence in Maarab. According to him, the Shiite movement launched "an armed coup... that is counter to the constitution... and democratic principles."
Foreigners, meanwhile, continued leaving the country by road to Syria, with Turkey and Kuwait evacuating their citizens on Saturday.
Violence also spread to Aramoun, Sidon, Aley and the Bekaa valley, according to An Nahar. It quoted security sources in Aley as saying that seven Hizbullah fighters were killed in clashes with members of the Progressive Socialist Party in Ras al Jabal.
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