2 killed in Beirut as Shi'ites and Sunnis exchange fire

August 24, 2010 23:17

BEIRUT — Lebanese Shiite and Sunni groups traded machine gun fire and grenades in Beirut on Tuesday, killing two people and wounding several others just blocks from a busy downtown packed with tourists at this time of year.

Lebanese soldiers cordoned off the area and prevented journalists from entering, but the crackle of sniper fire and popping of rocket propelled grenades were still audible.Gunmen stood on the corners and peering down alleyways in the neighborhood while families ran for cover. Ambulances rushed to the scene and an elderly man was loaded into a stretcher clutching his neck.

The shootout erupted between supporter of the Shiite Hezbollah and a Sunni conservative group in the mixed residential area of Bourj Abu Haidar near Beirut's downtown, security officials said.

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