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Postcard from...Beirut

Iskander Zakharia was 26 in May 1985, when three armed men came to his family’s home to “ask him some questions”. “We’ve not seen him since,” says his sister Lina, “but we believe he is still alive.”

Brilliant Beirut

The Lebanese capital knows how to party, with stylish hotels, sizzling nightlife and plenty of bling – and Bentleys – on show. But equally distracting are the cultural landmarks that surround the city.

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Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah: Prominent Shiite cleric

As Lebanon's leading Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah was revered in Shia communities in the Gulf and Central Asia and helped to spark increased political awareness among Lebanon's Shia Muslim population. He was also the target of a number of assassination attempts. He had advocated armed resistance by Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite party and militia, to Israel's 18-year occupation of southern Lebanon, which ended with the Israeli withdrawal in 2000. Fadlallah supported the creation of a Palestinian state in what is now Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.