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12 Lebanese troops killed in clashes with Sunni radicals

From Saad Abedine, CNN
June 24, 2013 -- Updated 1000 GMT (1800 HKT)
Burning tires are pictured in Tripoli, Lebanon, on Sunday amid protests in support of Sheikh Ahmed al-Asir.
Burning tires are pictured in Tripoli, Lebanon, on Sunday amid protests in support of Sheikh Ahmed al-Asir.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Lebanese state news agency: Government troops surround Sunni cleric's compound
  • Civil war violence from Syria spills over to Lebanon

(CNN) -- Twelve Lebanese soldiers have been killed in the southern city of Sidon since Sunday, in fighting with armed followers of Lebanese Sunni hardline cleric Sheikh Ahmed al-Asir, according to the Lebanese state news agency.

Despite the casualties, the National News Agency reported that the Lebanese army had tightened its control over the al-Asir compound.

Al-Asir is a vocal supporter of the Syrian rebels who have been fighting Hezbollah and the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The violence from the ongoing civil war in Syria has frequently spilled over into Lebanon in recent months.

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