October 22, 2012 - 21:03 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - At least seven people were killed and dozens wounded in gunbattles in the Lebanese capital Beirut and coastal Tripoli on Monday, October 21 in further unrest linked to the conflict in neighboring Syria, security and hospital sources said, according to Reuters.
The clashes have heightened fears that Syria's civil war with its sectarian dimensions is now spreading into Lebanon, pitting local allies and opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against each other.
The Lebanese army promised decisive action to quell the violence, which was touched off by the assassination of a senior intelligence officer last week.
That killing has plunged Lebanon into a political crisis and the army command urged party leaders to be cautious in their public statements so as not to inflame passions further.
It issued the warning after troops and gunmen exchanged fire in Beirut's southern suburbs overnight and on Monday morning while protesters blocked roads with burning tires.
Many politicians have accused Syria of being behind the killing of Brigadier General Wissam al-Hassan, an intelligence chief opposed to the Syrian leadership, who was blown up by a car bomb in central Beirut on Friday.
Opposition leaders want Prime Minister Najib Mikati to resign, saying he is too close to Assad and his Lebanese militant ally Hezbollah, which is part of Mikati's government.