Start of Armed Clashes and Fighting in Lebanon
On May 8, 2008, minutes after Nasrallah's comments referring to pro-government actions as "a declaration of open war", heavy street battles began.
Fighting began along Corniche Mazraa, an avenue separating Shiite and Sunni areas, spreading to the western, southern and eastern parts of Beirut where Sunni and Shiite neighborhoods overlapped. Combat was heard near the office of Lebanon's Sunni religious leader - an ally of the government - and near the official residence of the opposition-aligned parliament speaker. Machine guns and rocket propelled grenades were used by both sides. Opposition militants overran and burnt-down three pro-government offices. More barricades were set up, closing major highways. A CNN correspondent, pinned down with a Lebanese army unit during an intense gun battle, reported that government forces had not reacted to the violence. The army decided not to intervene in the clashes for fear of a breakup of the army along sectarian lines, which happened during the civil war.
In street battles in Beirut one Amal fighter and six civilians are killed, among the dead were two women and one child.