Page last updated at 14:50 GMT, Friday, 9 May 2008 15:50 UK

In pictures: Lebanon crisis

Shia gunman in Beirut on 9 May 2008

Shia gunmen led by Hezbollah have seized most of the western half of Beirut, driving out supporters of the Western-backed government.

A Hezbollah member blocks a road on the Beirut seafront on 9 May 2008

Burning road blocks have been erected across the city during three days of violence, which was triggered by a government move on Monday to shut down Hezbollah's telecoms network.

A burnt vehicle in Beirut on 9 May 2008

At least 11 people are dead and scores injured, while cars have been torched and property smashed in some of the worst internal strife seen in the Lebanese capital since the 1975-90 civil war.

Shia gunmen in offices of Mr Hariri's Future movement in Beirut on 9 May 2008

The gunmen forced the closure of governing coalition leader Saad Hariri's TV and radio stations and his newspaper. The Lebanese army later took over the buildings to guard them.

Shia gunmen detain Sunni government supporters in Beirut on 9 May 2008

The gunmen detained Sunni government supporters and over-ran Sunni areas of west Beirut. Despite sectarian strains, the conflict is said to remain mostly political.

Lebanese army in Beirut on 9 May 2008

The Lebanese army command has warned its unity is at risk if the crisis in the capital drags on.

Lebanese army in Beirut on 9 May 2008

Analysts say the key to staving off a descent into civil war may lie in how long the army can stay neutral.

A Lebanese family flee their home in an area recently taken by Hezbollah on 9 May 2008

As residents of west Beirut fled on Friday, the Italian government was reported to be drawing up an evacuation plan for any of its nationals wanting to leave the city.

Passengers walk towards the airport terminal building in Beirut on 8 May 2008

But with road blocks all but closing down Lebanon's international airport, many passengers trying to board flights out of the city had to make their way to the terminal building on foot.




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