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Lebanese security forces regain control in southern Beirut

Lebanon has deployed security forces to southern Beirut after reaching an agreement with Shiite-militant Hezbollah, which has controlled the area for years. The state forces were to take over security checkpoints.

Some 800 Lebanese soldiers were sent to neighborhoods in southern Beirut on Monday, an area long considered a Hezbollah stronghold.

"The state must extend its control over all of the Lebanese territory," Lebanese Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said Monday, adding that Hezbollah had agreed to the proposal.

The Shiite-militant group set up checkpoints in the area following two deadly car bombings in July and August left over 25 people dead and dozens wounded. The move to control who moved through the southern suburbs reportedly angered officials and prominent local residents.

"No one else will be authorized to be present at the checkpoints," Charbel added.

Comments were not immediately available from Hezbollah leaders.

The recent attacks on Lebanon's Shiite population stem from the civil war in neighboring Syria. During the span of the conflict, which began in March 2011, Hezbollah has provided armed support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's military. Some fighters from the Sunni-dominated Syrian opposition groups have sought revenge on the Lebanon-based group in response to its involvement.

kms/hc (AP, AFP, dpA)