Hezbollah Chief: Beirut 'War Has Started'

Open violence rattles streets a second day
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted May 8, 2008 3:15 PM CDT
A gunman fires during clashes in Beirut.   (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
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(Newser) – What began as a strike yesterday is now “open war” in Lebanon, according to Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, CNN reports. Open violence continued for a second day today, with loyalists and opposition fighters clashing after the US-backed government tried to muscle through measures against Hezbollah on Monday, including a crackdown on the Syria- and Iran-friendly group’s communications network.

Nasrallah called for compromise with the government, which has been in crisis for some 17 months, but also issued a warning, the AP reports: “Those who shoot at us, we will shoot at them. The hand raised against us, we will cut it off.” A government official called the statement “a direct threat of assassination.”