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Lebanese security forces arrest fugitive hard-line Sunni cleric wanted over deadly shootout

  • FILE - In this Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, file photo, Lebanese anti-Syrian regime and Salafist group leader Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir, addresses his supporters during a demonstration in downtown of Beirut, Lebanon. Lebanese authorities say they have arrested the fugitive hardline Sunni cleric who was involved in a deadly shootout with government troops and killing of soldiers in 2014. Two senior security officials says Sheik Ahmad al-Assir was detained Saturday at Beirut international airport as he was trying to flee the country in disguise and using a forged passport. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)

    FILE - In this Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, file photo, Lebanese anti-Syrian regime and Salafist group leader Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir, addresses his supporters during a demonstration in downtown of Beirut, Lebanon. Lebanese authorities say they have arrested the fugitive hardline Sunni cleric who was involved in a deadly shootout with government troops and killing of soldiers in 2014. Two senior security officials says Sheik Ahmad al-Assir was detained Saturday at Beirut international airport as he was trying to flee the country in disguise and using a forged passport. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, file photo, Lebanese anti-Syrian regime a Salafist group leader Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir, center, is surrounded by his bodyguards as arrives to address his supporters during a demonstration in downtown of Beirut, Lebanon. Lebanese authorities say they have arrested the fugitive hardline Sunni cleric who was involved in a deadly shootout with government troops and killing of soldiers in 2014. Two senior security officials says Sheik Ahmad al-Assir was detained Saturday at Beirut international airport as he was trying to flee the country in disguise and using a forged passport. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)

    FILE - In this Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, file photo, Lebanese anti-Syrian regime a Salafist group leader Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir, center, is surrounded by his bodyguards as arrives to address his supporters during a demonstration in downtown of Beirut, Lebanon. Lebanese authorities say they have arrested the fugitive hardline Sunni cleric who was involved in a deadly shootout with government troops and killing of soldiers in 2014. Two senior security officials says Sheik Ahmad al-Assir was detained Saturday at Beirut international airport as he was trying to flee the country in disguise and using a forged passport. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, file photo, Lebanese anti-Syrian regime and Salafist group leader Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir, addresses his supporters during a demonstration in downtown of Beirut, Lebanon. Lebanese authorities say they have arrested the fugitive hardline Sunni cleric who was involved in a deadly shootout with government troops and killing of soldiers in 2014. Two senior security officials says Sheik Ahmad al-Assir was detained Saturday at Beirut international airport as he was trying to flee the country in disguise and using a forged passport. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)

    FILE - In this Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, file photo, Lebanese anti-Syrian regime and Salafist group leader Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir, addresses his supporters during a demonstration in downtown of Beirut, Lebanon. Lebanese authorities say they have arrested the fugitive hardline Sunni cleric who was involved in a deadly shootout with government troops and killing of soldiers in 2014. Two senior security officials says Sheik Ahmad al-Assir was detained Saturday at Beirut international airport as he was trying to flee the country in disguise and using a forged passport. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)  (The Associated Press)

Lebanese authorities say they have arrested a fugitive hard-line Sunni cleric who was wanted on suspicion of being involved in a deadly shootout with government troops in 2014.

Two senior security officials say Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir was detained Saturday at Beirut's Rafik Hariri International Airport as he was trying to flee the country in a disguise and using a forged passport.

Al-Assir, a firebrand anti-Hezbollah cleric, has been on the run since June 2014 after his armed supporters clashed with the Lebanese army in the southern port city of Sidon. The fighting killed 18 Lebanese soldiers and deepened sectarian tensions between Sunni and Shiite Muslims who support opposing sides in neighboring Syria's civil war.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists.