Hezbollah Pulling Gunmen From Beirut

Political group wins concessions from neutral Lebanese army

By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff

Posted May 10, 2008 12:56 PM CDT

(Newser) – Hezbollah began withdrawing gunmen today from Beirut after winning concessions from the Lebanese army to overturn the government measures that sparked days of fierce fighting. The army, a neutral player in the ongoing struggle between the insurgent political group and the Western-backed government, said it would reinstate Beirut airport’s security chief and would maintain Hezbollah’s military communications network, Reuters reports.

Despite the deal, Prime Minister Fouad Siniora remained defiant, saying, “Hezbollah must realize that force of arms will not scare us or make us retreat.” Thirty-seven people have been killed and at least 100 wounded in the 4 days since fighting erupted, and the US says it will work with foreign powers to punish “those responsible for the violence.”

Sunni supporters of majority leader Saad Hariri hold a picture of slain former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
Sunni supporters of majority leader Saad Hariri hold a picture of slain former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.   (AP Photo)
Lebanon's Prime Minister Fuad Saniora said Hezbollah must realize that force of arms will not scare us or make us retreat.
Lebanon's Prime Minister Fuad Saniora said Hezbollah "must realize that force of arms will not scare us or make us retreat."   (AP Photo/Ahmad Omar)
Hezbollah has begun withdrawing its gunmen from the streets after the army vowed to resolve its dispute with the Lebanese government.
Hezbollah has begun withdrawing its gunmen from the streets after the army vowed to resolve its dispute with the Lebanese government.   (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
Seeking to end bloodshed, the Lebanese army offered Hezbollah a compromise settlement and called on all parties to withdraw their gunmen.
Seeking to end bloodshed, the Lebanese army offered Hezbollah a compromise settlement and called on all parties to withdraw their gunmen.   (AP Photo)
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