Two shot dead at political meeting in Lebanon

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Two shot dead at political meeting in Lebanon

Post by Admin on Thu Apr 24, 2008 2:13 pm

Two
activists close to Lebanon's anti-Syrian parliamentary majority were
shot dead on Sunday at the opening of a party headquarters in the
eastern town of Zahle, a security official said.
Salim
Assi and Nasri al-Murani, both members of the Christian Phalange party
which is part of the ruling coalition, were killed in a shooting during
the inauguration of a Phalange office, the official said on condition
of anonymity.
Three
other Phalange supporters were wounded in the shooting, which took
place at a checkpoint on a road leading to the event, a Phalange
spokeswoman told AFP.
Joseph
Zouki, a supporter of Zahle opposition MP Elie Skaff, was refused entry
through the checkpoint and later returned and allegedly shot at the
Phalange security point, the official added.
Lebanese security forces have surrounded the area of Hammar in Zahle where Zouki is thought to be hiding, the official said.
An
AFP correspondent in the area said that the entire city of Zahle has
been cordoned off with the army setting up checkpoints throughout and
conducting thorough checks of all vehicles.
"Today
the situation is tense and sensitive, so we would prefer not to comment
at this time. . . our priority is to maintain calm in the country,"
said Zahle Christian opposition MP Salim Aoun, adding that an official
statement would be released on Monday.
Sami Gemayel, the son of Phalange leader and former president Amin Gemeyel, had just left the event at the time of the shooting.
The former president's son, industry minister Pierre Gemayel was assassinated in November 2006.
The
deaths came amid Lebanon's worst political crisis since the 1975-90
civil war with the Syrian- and Iranian-backed opposition refusing to
recognize the legitimacy of the rump pro-Western cabinet of Prime
Minister Fuad Siniora since its six ministers quit nearly 18 months ago.
The
impasse has left the country without a president since pro-Syrian
incumbent Emile Lahoud stepped down at the end of his term in November.
A total of 17 sessions called to elect a new president have proved
abortive.
The next session planned for Tuesday is unlikely to take place.
The
army chief, General Michel Sleiman, has emerged as the consensus
candidate for the post but the two sides are still feuding over the
makeup of a new cabinet.
The
wrangling has at times spilled over into street clashes raising fears
of a return to civil unrest. Six people were killed in street fighting
in Janurary.


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