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Lebanese Soldiers Killed in Fighting with Anti-Hezbollah Group

Lebanese Army soldiers on armored vehicles move towards an area of clashes in Sidon, southern Lebanon, June 23, 2013.
Three Lebanese soldiers were killed in the coastal city of Sidon on Sunday in clashes with followers of a Sunni Islamist cleric who is a fierce critic of Hezbollah's military intervention in neighboring Syria, a security official said.

Sources in the city said the fighting broke out when a follower of Sheikh Ahmed al-Assir was arrested at an army roadblock in Sidon, 40 km (28 miles) south of Beirut.

The clashes were followed by fighting between Hezbollah members based in the mostly Sunni city and Assir's followers in which automatic weapons and shoulder fired rockets were used, the sources said.

Iranian-backed Hezbollah, a Shi'ite militant group, has been fighting on behalf of President Bashir al-Assad's forces against mostly Sunni rebels trying to topple him.