Lebanese army kills man as rival Christians clash

May 23 , 2005

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanese soldiers inadvertently shot dead one man as they intervened to break up a fight between supporters of rival groups in a Christian village northeast of Beirut on Sunday night, a security source said on Monday.

He said troops fired into the air when anti-Syria Phalange Party members loyal to former President Amin Gemayel returning from a rally gathered outside an office for the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) in Dhour al-Shuwayr.

One bullet fired by the army hit and fatally wounded a pro-Syria SSNP member, the source said.

The two sides had thrown rocks and bottles at each other in the village earlier in the day when the Phalange followers were heading to the rally in nearby Bikfaya.

Each party blamed the other for the violence.

The violence between the two groups, rivals for decades, raised the tension in the area in the run-up to Lebanon’s May 29-June 19 general elections.