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Army Moves into Tripoli, Lebanon, to Restore Calm

Lebanon’s army has sent troops into the northern town of Tripoli after clashed erupted between rival factions, which left two people dead and six wounded in the first violence in Lebanon since the country reached a political deadlock following three failed attempts by the parliament to elect a new president.
According to reports, the fighting broke out between followers of the Sunni Islamic Tawheed movement, a group close to the Syria-backed opposition, and the Tripoli Battalions group whose allegiance lies with Sa’ad Hariri, son of former prime minister Rafik Hariri and leader of the anti Syrian March 14 movement.  
The Lebanese army, which has acted as a stabilizing force so far in the political turmoil, is reported to have surrounded the area where the shooting took place.
The political crisis reached a critical stage on Friday, when the term of former president Emile Lahoud ended, and the rival parties still had not reached an agreement on a candidate to replace him.
The cabinet has temporarily assumed the powers of the presidency.
There are fears that the current impasse could lead to the formation of two rival administrations, and possibly pull the country back into a civil war, similar to the war that ended in 1990.
Meanwhile, Hizbullah has added a new demand to the criteria for presidential candidates, insisting the new president supports Hizbullah in its fight against Israel.
The Western-backed government, which also has a majority in the parliament, has been unable to reach an agreement over a compromise presidential candidate with the Hizbullah-led opposition, which is backed by Syria.
The next parliamentary session to elect a president is scheduled for November 30. The opposition has boycotted previous parliamentary votes and prevented the required quorum to be reached in order for the vote to be valid.