Lebanon faces sectarian clash sparked by fuel dispute

Lebanon, which recently lived on limited fuel supplies, faced sectarian tensions this weekend between two neighboring Muslim and Christian Shia villages in the south of the country over a fuel dispute, forcing the army to intervene, said a security source.

Clashes mainly centered on crippling gasoline and diesel shortages have become daily in Lebanon, sparking growing concern that it is descending into chaos after two years of financial crisis.

About six people were injured in a dispute between the Christian village of Maghdouche and the Shiite Ankoun, the source said.

The incident escalated when a resident of Maghdouche filed a complaint with police after being injured in a fuel dispute on Friday and police traveled to Ankoun to investigate.

Villagers blocked roads and burned trees and troops were deployed, the source said. The situation was calm on Monday.

The Shiite Amal movement, led by Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri, condemned the violence, saying it had “no connection, form or form with what happened in Maghdouche”, denying accusations of involvement on social networks.

The financial collapse, which has seen the currency fall by more than 90% in two years and forced more than half of the population into poverty, entered a new phase this month as fuel shortages crippled much of Lebanon.

The state’s top Sunni Muslim cleric, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Latif Derian, said on Friday that Lebanon was heading for a complete collapse unless steps were taken to address the crisis.

The financial crisis has been made worse by political paralysis, with the country without a government since the last one resigned following the Beirut port explosion last year.

Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati, the third to attempt to form a cabinet since the latter resigned, said on Friday serious obstacles were complicating the process.

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