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Tension on Beirut streets as political crisis deepens

Hussam Shebaro / Reuters

Sunni Muslim gunmen with weapons walk through the streets of Kaskas in Beirut on October 22, 2012, after a night of tension following the funeral of an intelligence official killed by a car bomb. Sunday's clashes fed into a growing political crisis in Lebanon linked to the civil war in neighboring Syria.

Hussein Malla / AP

A man rides his motorcycle between a burning tire and garbage containers laid by Sunni protesters after overnight clashes between Sunni and Shiite gunmen in Beirut, Oct. 22, 2012.

Ahmad Omar / AP

Lebanese Army soldiers patrol a neighborhood after overnight clashes between Sunni and Shiite gunmen in Beirut, Oct. 22, 2012. Shortly before noon Lebanese troops began a big operation in the capital aiming to open all closed roads and to force gunmen out of the streets after overnight clashes following the funeral of Lebanese Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hassan.

Hussam Shebaro / Reuters

A man and his children walk away from clashes between Sunni Muslim gunmen and members of the Lebanese army in Kaskas, Beirut, October 22, 2012.

Ahmad Omar / AP

Lebanese Army soldiers patrol a neighborhood after overnight clashes between Sunni and Shiite gunmen in Beirut, Oct. 22, 2012.

Reuters reports — The Lebanese army promised decisive action to quell unrest linked to the Syria conflict as gunbattles flared in the capital Beirut and elsewhere on Monday after the assassination of a senior intelligence officer last week.

The army command urged political leaders to be cautious in their public statements so as not to inflame passions further.

It issued the warning after troops and gunmen exchanged fire in Beirut's southern suburbs on Monday morning, wounding five people, while protesters blocked roads with burning tires. Read the full story.

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Protesters rushed the prime minister's office Sunday in Lebanon, ripping up barbed wire and hurling rocks. The situation, which started as a peaceful protest, has become a standoff between protesters and the military. It has also triggered concern that Syria's civil war is spreading. NBC's Stephanie Gosk reports.

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