A Lebanese man was killed on Sunday in clashes that broke out between Shiite and Sunni Muslims in a predominantly Sunni neighborhood in West Beirut, police officials said. Ahmed Ali Mahmoud, a 20-year-old Shiite Muslim, was shot during the clash in the Tarik Jdideh neighborhood. It was not clear where the gunfire came from, the officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to speak to the press.
JPost correspondent reports from Beirut: Sunnis begin to rally behind Saniora
Tension has been running high in Lebanon, particularly since Friday when Hizbullah supporters began an open-ended sit-in in Beirut in an effort to bring down the US-backed government of Prime Minister Fuad Saniora.
The clash in Tarik Jdideh occurred as a group of Hizbullah supporters were returning from Beirut's downtown and passed through the Sunni neighborhood.
The police officials said the two sides threw stones at each other before the clash before shots were fired. More than 20 others were slightly wounded in similar clashes Sunday evening.
The ongoing protest in downtown Beirut has raised fears that violence would erupt between Lebanon's various religious and political groups.
The Shiite Muslim Hizbullah militant group, which has had an upsurge in political clout after its summer war with Israel, called for the demonstration in an effort to force Saniora to resign.
The Saniora government is largely backed by Sunni Muslims and Christians who oppose involvement in Lebanon's affairs by neighboring Syria, which was forced to end a nearly three-decade military occupation last year.
Hizbullah, an ally of Syria that is backed by many Shiite Muslims and some Christians, contends the fight is against American influence, saying the United States now dominates Lebanon in the interests of Israel.