2 Qaeda-affiliated gunmen killed in Beirut shootout

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A Lebanese soldier runs across a street following a shootout in Beirut's Karakass district early on May 24, 2012. Lebanese security forces stormed a building in the capital Beirut following a shootout during the night with a man holed up inside a flat, an AFP correspondent at the site said.

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An eight-hour shootout in a Beirut neighborhood Wednesday night claimed the lives of two gunmen and resulted in the arrest of one other "Al Qaeda-affiliated" man, according to The Daily Star. Hani Ash-Shanti, the Lebanese man who was arrested, "is part of a 13-member group affiliated with Al-Qaeda and is said to have been linked to the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri," according to the paper.

Reuters reported that at least one of the two killed was a Syrian national.

The clash began, the Associated Press reported, as a domestic dispute. One man was "distraught because his girlfriend was breaking up with him."

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Eyewitnesses from the West Beirut neighborhood Karakas said the argument over a Syrian woman resulted in gunfire. The army responded, then the men refused to leave the building and fired their guns and lobbed grenades at the soldiers.

After the overnight standoff, soldiers who entered the apartment found "weapons, ammunition, hand grenades and other military equipment," wrote the AP. 

Four military members were wounded during the clash.

The news wire noted that many Lebanese groups that were armed during the country's civil war remain so, and "an alarming number of private individuals hold weapons in their homes, including hunting rifles, guns and even RPGs."

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