Ceasefire fails in Mount Lebanon(Second Lead)

May 12th, 2008 - 1:01 am ICT by admin  

Choufayet (Lebanon), May 11 (DPA) A ceasefire between followers of Druze leader Walid Jumblatt and opposition followers failed Sunday after clashes broke out on Jumblatt’s stronghold of Mount Lebanon. Shortly after Druze opposition leader Talal Arslan told DPA that “the ceasefire was established”, battles ragged in the axes of Aitat-Kayfoun.

Kayfoun is a Shia village surrounded by Druze villages loyal to Jumblatt.

According to a Jumblatt follower in the area, “Our militants managed to enter the village of Kayfoun to protect the Shia villagers from any attack.

“We have lived here with our Shia neighbours for so long without any problems, the people behind this attack are outsiders,” he added.

Meanwhile, Jumblatt in his second appearance on television in less than an hour, called on Hezbollah chief Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah to keep the Druze community away from any political settlements.

Convoys of army tanks entered the village of Choufeiyat, and the situation inside the area is now calm, but the battles were still raging in the surrounding villages of Aita and Ain Anoub, both strongholds of Jumblatt.

An army officer at the scene told DPA: “We are now moving towards the area of clashes.”

Fierce clashes broke out between Jumblatt’s followers and Hezbollah militants in the axes of Aitat, Choufayet, Kayfoun, 20 km southeast of Beirut.

According to hospital sources, five people were killed, two in the fighting and around 10 people were wounded.

The latest deaths raised the toll to 22 on Sunday.

Seventeen people were earlier reported dead when heavy fighting broke out at dawn between pro- and anti-government supporters in northern Lebanon.

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