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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 February 2008, 09:43 GMT
Charges over Lebanon riot deaths
Aftermath of riot
The deaths raised fears of conflict between the army and the opposition
Lebanese prosecutors have charged 19 soldiers, including three officers, over the fatal shooting of opposition protesters during riots last month.

Seven protesters were killed on 27 January in a mainly Shia suburb during protests over power cuts.

Correspondents say the shootings raised tensions in Lebanon, already in a deep political crisis, to new levels.

The indictment says six victims were killed by army bullets. An enquiry is ongoing to find who killed the seventh.

Lebanon has been without a president since 23 November due to divisions between the pro-Western ruling majority and pro-Syrian opposition.

A parliamentary vote to elected a new leader was delayed for a 14th time on Monday.

Rival Lebanese factions have agreed in principle to elect army chief Gen Michel Suleiman, but have repeatedly disagreed over constitutional details and the make-up of the cabinet.

The army has been seen as one of the country's most neutral institutions, but a BBC correspondent in Beirut says the latest killings threaten to draw it into the conflict.



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