Lebanese PM calls on army to restore order; says Hizbullah staged coup

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May 10, 2008 15:57

Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora called on the army Saturday to restore law and order across Lebanon and remove gunmen from the streets, accusing Hizbullah of staging an armed coup. However Saniora also appeared to be backing away from the government decisions that triggered the street confrontation, offering a compromise that is unlikely to be accepted by Hizbullah. A similar offer from Sunni majority leader Saad Hariri earlier was rejected. Hizbullah seized the Sunni neighborhoods of Beirut Thursday after its leader Hassan Nasrallah accused the US-backed government of "declaring war" on his group by its recent decision to consider the group's communications network illegal and remove the airport security chief for alleged ties to the militants. Saniora said he did not declare war on Hizbullah, and that the decision on the communications issue would be handed over the army to deal with, a position that the opposition had already rejected.


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