Deadly sectarian clashes near Beirut between Hezbollah supporters, local clan

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At least two people were killed Thursday in clashes that broke out between Hezbollah supporters and a local clan south of Beirut, over a religious banner.

Local eyewitnesses told Al Arabiya English that an argument over the displaying of a religious flag in Khaldeh led to a gunfight between the two sides.

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Hezbollah supporters were raising flags to mark Ashoura before local clan members objected. Closer video shows the gunfire battle between Hezbollah supporters and Sunni Arab tribe members of Beirut's Khaldeh area.

The Lebanese army arrived at the scene and blocked the road to calm the situation. The army then released a statement saying four people were arrested and efforts were underway to apprehend the remaining suspects.

The tribe members called on the army to intervene and protect local residents. A statement released by the Sunni Arab tribes placed the blame on the country’s political elite and Hezbollah. “Hezbollah turned its arms into sectarian and militia weapons,” the statement said.

Ashoura is an annual a religious commemoration held by Shia Muslims on the tenth day of tenth day of the Islamic month of Muharram to mark the death of Imam Hussein, the grandson of Islam’s Prophet Mohammed, who was killed in battle.

“It is a jungle here,” one eyewitness said shortly after the clashes broke out.

Progressive Socialist Party Walid Joumblatt said that the main highway that passed through Khaldeh was for all Lebanese. "“It is forbidden for any political side or sectarian party to tamper with the road and area that is for all,” he tweeted.

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