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 Australian killed in Lebanon: DFAT 

Australian killed in Lebanon: DFAT

12/05/2008 8:22:28 PM
A 41-year-old Melbourne man has been killed, reportedly during heavy fighting, in northern Lebanon over the weekend, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said today.The man was one of 12 people killed when 100 pro-government loyalists attacked the office of an opposition political party, ABC Radio reported today.The Australian Lebanese Youth Association spokesman Antoun Issa told ABC the dead man was 41-year-old Fadi Sheikh, who has a wife and four children.Mr Issa said Mr Sheikh had been visiting his parents in Lebanon and was killed while in the city of Halba in northern Lebanon, close to the border with Syria.He had been in a coalition opposition office, used for providing the community with safety advice and information, when it was stormed by a pro-government mob.He said Mr Sheikh was not in Lebanon for any political reasons."He just happened to be there in the wrong place at the wrong time when a mob of about 100 pro-government loyalists attacked,'' Mr Issa told AAP."It was quite brutal. Some people tried to escape and were hunted down and killed.''Mr Issa said he knew Mr Sheikh through family connections and that he had only been visiting Lebanon for a few weeks to see his parents, who he had not seen for several years.He was due to return home to Australia in two weeks time.He said Mr Sheikh's wife was hysterical."Absolutely hysterical, she can't even speak,'' he said."She's mortified.''A DFAT spokesman would not confirm the man's name.He said his death underlined the highly dangerous situation in Lebanon and the need for Australians to continue to exercise extreme caution in travelling to the area.DFAT was seeking to provide consular assistance to the man's family in Melbourne.The Australian Embassy in Beirut was liaising with local authorities regarding the man's death. AAP
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