84 charged over Beirut clashes

2010-09-06 21:18

Beirut - Lebanon's military prosecutor charged 84 people in connection with last month's deadly clashes in Beirut, but so far has only detained 22 of them, the state-run news agency reported on Monday.

The August 24 clashes between members of the Shi'ite Hezbollah militant group and a small Sunni group in the neighborhood raised sectarian tensions in the country and spurred new calls for disarming the militias.

Three people were killed, including a Hezbollah official and his aide, in the clash that began over a parking space but escalated into a four hour street battle involving automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenades.

Lebanon's National News Agency said prosecutor Saqr Saqr charged the suspects with various crimes including murder, attempted murder, incitement and possession of weapons and explosives.

The remaining 62 suspects are still at large and are being tried in absentia.

It was the worst clashes in Beirut since May 2008, when Hezbollah gunmen swept through Sunni neighborhoods after the pro-Western government tried to dismantle the group's telecommunications network.

More than 80 people were killed in those clashes.