Lebanese security officials say unidentified gunmen have shot dead two members of a Christian Phalange party that is part of the ruling anti-Syrian coalition.
The officials say the victims, Salim Assi and Nasri al-Murani, were killed Sunday during an opening of a new party office in the town of Zahle in the Bekaa Valley. They say three other Phalange activists were wounded in the shooting Sunday. Lebanese troops were deployed in Zahle and are searching for the attackers.
The deaths came amid a 17-month standoff between Lebanon's Western-backed governing coalition and the Syrian-backed opposition. That impasse has left the country without a president since November, when pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud stepped down at the end of his term with no elected successor. Parliamentary voting to elect a new president has been delayed 17 times and is now scheduled for April 22nd.