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Lebanon's Hezbollah accuses Future Movement of inciting violence

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Hezbollah's Deputy Chief, Sheikh Na'eem Qassem, has accused the U.S.-backed Future Bloc of providing political support for perpetrators behind the unrest in Lebanon's Southern city of Sidon last week. The skirmishes provoked by hard-line militants loyal to controversial Salafist cleric - Ahmad Al-Asir - last Monday, led to the death of several Lebanese soldiers and the injury of scores others. The Army responded by seizing Al-Asir's stronghold; a mosque where he stored his military arsenal In the aftermath of the clashes the Lebanese Army arrested at least 180 of Asir's supporters who belonged to different nationalities: Among those arrested an infamous Israeli operative and drug-lord known as Mohammad Al-Gharamti a.k.a. Abou Arida. The ground battles in Sidon highlighted widespread Salafist resentment towards the Lebanese Army Last Friday, the Future Movement's Head - MP Fouad Siniora - and founder of the Salafist movement in Lebanon Dae Al-Islam Shahal together attended a joint prayer at a local mosque. The Future Movement and the March 14 alliance have continually accused Hezbollah of backing the army in its crackdown on the Salafist cleric and his militants. But Lebanon's Care-taker Defense Minister , Fayez Ghosn has rejected these claims and said Hezbollah has not taken part in the fight against Assir. Ghosn has also added that the Lebanese army took the decision to fight the militants on its own. The premature attempt to ignite a sectarian strife by salafists and their cleric Ahmad Al-Asir in Lebanon is believed to have been the result of the Syrian government's gaining ground on the battlefield against militants.

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