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Mikati, Kahwagi classify Sidon as top priority
Lebanese soldiers stand guard during clashes in Sidon, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)
Lebanese soldiers stand guard during clashes in Sidon, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)
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BEIRUT: The security situation in Sidon is a top priority for the government and the Army, according to comments made by Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Lebanese Army Commander Gen. Jean Kahwagi.

“We are very concerned about the situation in Sidon city... The Cabinet’s permanent responsibility is to preserve citizens’ security in different Lebanese regions and mainly the city of Sidon,” Mikati said in remarks to As-Safir daily published Tuesday.

A clash between supporters of Hezbollah and Sunni preacher Sheikh Ahmad Assir in Sidon Sunday left three people dead and five others wounded.

After the fighting, linked to tensions over the 20-month-old bloody conflict in Syria, the Army warned it would deal firmly with anyone trying to undermine security in Sidon.

Mikati said there is a firm commitment to preventing the presence of arms in the city and avoiding tension among residents.

“We will work with all our forces to implement such a decision immediately,” said Mikati.

Separately, Kahwagi told As-Safir that the military institution is working hard to keep the situation calm, reiterating that the country’s security is a red line.

“The army is carrying out its tasks to impose calm not just in Sidon but in all Lebanese regions,” he said.

He added that the army will go on to confront strife no matter how many sacrifices that requires.

Tension in the coastal city still runs high amid reports that Assir plans on forming a military wing and holding further demonstrations and sit-ins.

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