BEIRUT: Two men were killed and at least four others wounded in a shootout on the outskirts of Shatila, a Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut, police sources told The Daily Star.
The sources said Lebanese Al-Zir family, which is affiliated with militia leader Shaker Berjawi exchanged fire with Palestinian groups in the Hay al-Gharbi area on the outskirts of the Shatila camp, killing two Palestinian men identified as Ali al-Toll and Jamil al-Issawi. The clashes wounded at least four others.
The Lebanese Army sent reinforcements to contain the situation and deployed on the road separating Hay al-Gharbi from the Shatila camp.
The clashes significantly eased after the military intervened. The sources said that the clashes were related to drug trafficking issues.
Witnesses Monday said that the sound of heavy gunfire ricocheted across the capital and traffic came to a standstill on several highways linking Beirut's center to its suburbs.
Berjawi's marginal Arab Movement Party is aligned with the March 8 bloc and supports Bashar Assad. Armed men loyal to his group have been periodically involved in clashes with groups who support the Syrian opposition in recent years.
In March, a clash between Salafists and Berjawi's men erupted near Cite Sportive Stadium. One man was killed and thirteen were wounded.
In Spring 2012, Berjawi's men were involved in a firefight with Future Movement youths in Tariq al-Jadideh which left two dead. It was the worst case of Syria-related violence to hit Lebanon's capital.
The three clashes, each involving Berjawi's men, are the only times in which Syria-related firefights have erupted in Beirut since the uprising against President Assad began in 2011.