Hezbollah claims victory in Lebanon national elections

Hezbollah and its Shiite allies have claimed victory in southern &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/2000/10/09/153.html ' target=_blank>Lebanon in the second stage of national elections, a vote the militant group hopes will prove its strength and send a message of defiance to the US.

Hundreds of Hezbollah supporters drove through the streets of Beirut yesterday waving the group’s yellow flag in celebration. In Beirut’s predominantly Shiite southern suburbs, fireworks lit the sky.

Four hours after polling stations closed, Hezbollah and its ally the Shiite Muslim Amal movement claimed they had won all 23 seats in the region bordering Israel. Official results were not due before midday today.

The elections, which are scheduled for two more Sundays in other regions, follow the assassination last week of an anti-Syrian journalist and continuing calls by the opposition for President Emile Lahoud’s resignation. The anti-Syrian opposition hopes the elections will end Damascus’ control of the legislature, tells the Scotsman.

Many in the Shi'ite Muslim heartland see a vote for Hizbollah as a vote for the group to retain its arms as a defense against neighboring Israel, which occupied the south for 22 years until its 2000 pullout.

Hundreds of supporters waving green Amal flags celebrated outside Berri's villa as results began to trickle out. Others drove through streets of southern villages and towns flying yellow &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/2002/04/09/27455.html ' target=_blank>Hizbollah and Amal flags.

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