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The World

Bursts of gunfire resounded in Beirut’s southern suburbs as Shia Muslim factions rallied to mark the 10th anniversary of the disappearance of their spiritual leader, the Imam Moussa Sadr. The occasion was also marked by a daylong general strike, closing businesses and government offices. It was called by the Amal militia, which was founded by Sadr in 1974 as a social movement seeking better living conditions for the downtrodden Shia community. Sadr vanished Aug. 31, 1978, while on a visit to Libya. Amal accuses Libya of being behind the cleric’s disappearance, a charge denied by the Libyans. The 1.2 million Shias make up Lebanon’s largest single sect.


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