Lebanon clerics call for jihad against Shiites in Syria

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Two top clerics in Lebanon have called for a holy war against Shiites in Syria, saying Sunnis are under attack in Homs and need protection from Hezbollah fighters.

Rebel fighters have been warning for some time of the potential for Hezbollah — composed mostly of Shiite Muslims and backed by Iran — to take advantage of Syria’s two-year civil war and join in the attacks, Bloomberg reported. Hezbollah has denied it has joined Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government forces to fight off the rebels, but Lebanese Sunni clerics Sheik Ahmad al-Assir and Sheik Salem al-Rafei say otherwise.

Sheik Al-Assir called for “those who see themselves threatened by Hezbollah to form cells made up of five people each to defend themselves,” Bloomberg reported. And Sheik al-Rafei said that Hezbollah has violated Lebanese policy that calls for keeping a distance from the Syrian conflict.

“The call for jihad,” he said in the Bloomberg article, “will deter Hezbollah from supporting the killers.”

Meanwhile, rebel forces in Syria said Hezbollah’s entrance into Homs was a “declaration of war against the Syrian people,” the Lebanese Daily Star reported.

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