Fighting continues in Tripoli, Lebanon

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Over thirty people have died as a result of several days of fighting in Lebanon, with the latest violence having occurred in the Lebanese city of Tripoli. The violence is the result of conflict between Hezbollah and supporters of the Lebanese government. Over the past four days, there has also been violence in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, although most of the violence has now left that city. A BBC reporter noted that machine guns and rocket propelled grenades were being used.

A US government spokesperson discussing the situation in Lebanon on Friday

Approximately 7000 people have now evacuated from the scene of the violence, although the level of violence has decreased after the Lebanese government announced that it would retract two decisions which have proven to be controversial with supporters of Hezbollah.

According to The New York Times, Hezbollah currently has control of a large amount of Beirut. A TV station that supported the Lebanese government is no longer broadcasting as a result of these recent incidents.

The United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice commented on these latest incidents. She said that she was "deeply concerned" by the current situation in Lebanon. She also stated that, in her opinion, Hezbollah should stop "undermining the legitimate authority of the Lebanese government."

The Washington Post also reported on the incident. It reported that the Lebanese government was struggling to bring an end to the violence.

In addition to the 36 deaths from the violence, over ten dozen people have been wounded, some seriously, by the attacks.

On Friday, a US government spokesperson discussed the ongoing situation. He said:

The United States is deeply concerned about the ongoing violence in Lebanon. We condemn the use of force by illegitimate armed groups and call upon all parties to respect the rule of law. Backed by Syria and Iran, Hezbollah and its allies are killing and injuring fellow citizens, undermining the legitimate authority of the Lebanese Government and the institutions of the Lebanese state. Seeking to protect their state within a state, Hezbollah has exploited its allies and demonstrated its contempt for its fellow Lebanese. No one has the right to deprive Lebanese citizens of their political and economic freedom, their right to move freely within their country, or their sense of safety and security.

Prime Minster of Lebanon Fouad Siniora also commented on the incidents. He demanded that Hezbollah "remove its fighters from the streets… and respect government institutions."