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Lebanese Army Deployed to Halt Sectarian Violence


The Lebanese army has been deployed in an attempt to stop sectarian violence in the north of the country that has killed at least nine people and wounded more than 50.

Soldiers and armored vehicles patrolled the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli Saturday, as clashes continued between Sunni Muslims and rival Alawites, a Shi'ite sect. The army said it would use force if necessary to restore security to the area.

The fighting began Friday and has been concentrated in the Sunni Bab el-Tabaneh district and the Alawite neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen. Some families have evacuated their homes in the area.

Clashes in Tripoli have killed at least 22 people since June. Government officials blamed the violence on Lebanon's political situation.

Lebanon formed a unity government two weeks ago, after months of fighting between the Western-backed government and the Hezbollah-backed opposition.

Prime Minister Fuad Siniora has said one of the government's most important tasks will be to restore confidence in the political system.

Under terms of a Qatari-brokered deal signed in May, the Hezbollah-backed opposition has veto power with its 11 seats in Lebanon's 30-member cabinet.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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