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Beirut Calm After Day of Clashes

Violence subsided in Beirut Friday, one day after clashes between Shi'ite and Sunni students in Beirut's southern suburbs left at least four people dead and more than 150 wounded. Edward Yeranian reports for VOA from Beirut.

Beirut was calm following appeals by political and religious leaders for an end to violence.  The Lebanese Army announced that it was lifting the evening curfew it had imposed Thursday. 
 
Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims battled each other Thursday in one of the worst episodes of violence since the end of the country's civil war 17 years ago.  The fighting, which began in the cafeteria on the main campus of Beirut Arab University, was between pro-government Sunni Muslims and Shi'ites who back Hezbollah.

Fearing a return of violence, many Lebanese stayed home from work Friday, and some shopkeepers did not open for business.

The government also ordered schools and universities to close until Monday, in a bid to prevent sectarian tensions among students from erupting again.

In a speech Thursday night, Hezbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, demanded that anyone caught firing on civilians should be dealt with harshly by the army, as well as Lebanon's legal system.

Editorials in Beirut newspapers Friday expressed concern about a new slide toward civil war, while at the same time applauding the results of Thursday's international donors conference in Paris. Governments at the Paris conference pledged almost $8 billion for Lebanon.

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