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Heavy clashes break out in mountain Lebanon
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Heavy clashes between pro and anti-government supporters broke out Sunday in mountain areas in central Lebanon, local New TV reported.

The violence started in mountain village of Aytat in Aley area, and expanded to other villages and then spread out to Chweifatcity where heavy gunfire exchange is taking place, according to the report.

The report said automatic rifles and RPGs were used in the battles, and huge sound of explosion could be heard in the area.

The fighting was reportedly between the supporters of pro-government Druze leader Walid Jumblatt and Druze opposition leader Talal Erslan's gunmen.

Local LBC TV reported that Jumblatt called Erslan to hand the control of mountain area over to the army to end the current violence.

The deadly clashes in Lebanon erupted Wednesday after the cabinet decided Tuesday to cease the private communication network of the leading opposition group of Hezbollah, and remove airport security chief Gen. Wafik Shqaier for alleged links to Hezbollah.

Hezbollah considered such decisions as "a declaration of war against the resistance."

Lebanon is currently facing the most serious political deadlock since the end of the 1975-1990 civil war. For the first time in its history, the presidential seat has been vacant since Nov. 24of 2007 when former President Emile Lahoud stepped down.

The presidency deadlock deepened the Lebanese political crisis as fears are mounting that failure in reaching a deal on the presidential candidate could result in more violence in the country.

(Xinhua News Agency May 12, 2008)

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