Lebanon: PM accuses Hizbullah of staging ”armed coup”; Army orders gunmen out of streets
Lebanon's army command has ordered troops to establish security in the capital and has urged all parties to withdraw their gunmen from the streets. According to the AP, the army statement also said an airport security chief fired by the government for alleged ties to Hizbullah will be kept on.
The chief's removal and the government's decision to declare Hizbullah's communications network illegal sparked days of clashes in the country. The statement came after Prime Minister Fuad Saniora accused Hizbullah of staging an "armed coup" against Lebanese democracy, and called on the army to restore law and order and remove gunmen from the streets.
In a nationally televised address, he called on the army "to impose security on all, in all areas, deter the gunmen and immediately remove them from the street ... to restore normal life." "Hizbullah must realize that the force of arms will not intimidate us or make us retreat from our position," he said in his first comments since the fighting began.
Earlier on Saturday, a Shiite shop owner opened fire on a funeral procession, killing two people and wounding six others in a Sunni neighborhood, police and witnesses said.
A total of 25 people have been killed and dozens wounded in the recent violence.
Saturday's shooting attack came as a procession of 200 people marched toward a cemetery to bury a 24-year-old man killed by a sniper's bullet earlier this week. Two people were killed and six wounded in the shooting, police said.
Police said troops later captured the gunman. Neighborhood residents identified him as a Shiite shop owner, who opened fire after the procession passed his store. After the attack, angry residents stormed the shop and set it on fire.
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