Angry funeral held for man over anti-Shiite song

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Members of the Lebanese Sunni society, called the “Islamic Group,†shout slogans as they carry the coffin of Marwan Dimashkieh who was found shot dead on a northern highway on Tuesday after rumors swirled that he was behind a song insulting Hezbollah, during his funeral procession, in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014. Hundreds of grim mourners gathered in a Beirut cemetery to bury a Sunni Lebanese man rumored to have been the voice of a popular song against rival Shiite group Hezbollah. The tense scenes the Martyrs Cemetery on Wednesday were the latest manifestation of the war in neighboring Syria that is badly inflaming sectarian tensions in Lebanon, even creating harsh musical rivalries. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Members of the Lebanese Sunni society, called the “Islamic Group,†shout slogans as they carry the coffin of Marwan Dimashkieh who was found shot dead on a northern highway on Tuesday after rumors swirled that he was behind a song insulting Hezbollah, during his funeral procession, in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014. Hundreds of grim mourners gathered in a Beirut cemetery to bury a Sunni Lebanese man rumored to have been the voice of a popular song against rival Shiite group Hezbollah. The tense scenes the Martyrs Cemetery on Wednesday were the latest manifestation of the war in neighboring Syria that is badly inflaming sectarian tensions in Lebanon, even creating harsh musical rivalries. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Members of the Lebanese Sunni society, called the “Islamic Group,†chant slogans as they carry the coffin of Marwan Dimashkieh who was found shot dead on a northern highway on Tuesday after rumors swirled that he was behind a song insulting Hezbollah, during his funeral procession, in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014. Hundreds of grim mourners gathered in a Beirut cemetery to bury a Sunni Lebanese man rumored to have been the voice of a popular song against rival Shiite group Hezbollah. The tense scenes the Martyrs Cemetery on Wednesday were the latest manifestation of the war in neighboring Syria that is badly inflaming sectarian tensions in Lebanon, even creating harsh musical rivalries. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

A Member of the Lebanese Sunni society, called the “Islamic Group,†shouts slogans as he carries the coffin of Marwan Dimashkieh who was found shot dead on a northern highway on Tuesday after rumors swirled that he was behind a song insulting Hezbollah, during his funeral procession, in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014. Hundreds of grim mourners gathered in a Beirut cemetery to bury a Sunni Lebanese man rumored to have been the voice of a popular song against rival Shiite group Hezbollah. The tense scenes the Martyrs Cemetery on Wednesday were the latest manifestation of the war in neighboring Syria that is badly inflaming sectarian tensions in Lebanon, even creating harsh musical rivalries. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Members of the Lebanese Sunni society, called the “Islamic Group,†shout slogans as they carry the coffin of Marwan Dimashkieh who was found shot dead on a northern highway on Tuesday after rumors swirled that he was behind a song insulting Hezbollah, during his funeral procession, in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014. Hundreds of grim mourners gathered in a Beirut cemetery to bury a Sunni Lebanese man rumored to have been the voice of a popular song against rival Shiite group Hezbollah. The tense scenes the Martyrs Cemetery on Wednesday were the latest manifestation of the war in neighboring Syria that is badly inflaming sectarian tensions in Lebanon, even creating harsh musical rivalries. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

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BEIRUT (AP) — Angry mourners gathered in Beirut to bury a Sunni man, rumored to be the singer of a tune urging violent death upon Shiites, in the latest manifestation of how the war in neighboring Syria has inflamed hatreds in Lebanon that now extend even to music.

Hundreds of Sunni men from across Lebanon flocked to Wednesday’s funeral after word spread that the dead man, car mechanic Marwan Dimashkiyeh, was the singer of “Dig Your Grave in Yabroud” — a virulently anti-Hezbollah song.

The funeral-turned-protest reflected rising tensions between Lebanese Shiites and Sunnis as they wage war in Syria on opposing sides.

The song refers to a battle launched in February by Syrian President Bashar Assad and his Lebanese allies from the Shiite Hezbollah group to dislodge rebels from Yabroud, a town along the Lebanese border. The town serves as part of a rebel supply line reaching sympathetic Sunni towns in Lebanon.

“Yabroud is on fire,” said Mohammed Estateyeh, a Sunni activist who attended the funeral. The song “reflects how deeply people are suppressed, angry.”

The fighting in Yabroud prompted Hezbollah supporters to write a foot-stomping song titled “Make Your Victory Decisive in Yabroud.”

The song featured a video clip with gory close-ups of dead rebels and extremist Sunnis carrying the severed heads of pro-Assad fighters.

“Listen, terrorist, my people are steadfast, they won’t kneel,” deep-voiced men sing. “They will wipe out your existence in Yabroud.”

Pro-rebel Lebanese Sunnis quickly fired off a response with “Dig Your Grave in Yabroud.”

“Your victory is a dream in Yabroud, it is your illusion, Hezbollah,” singers chant.

Dimashkieh was found shot to death in his vehicle on a northern Lebanese highway Tuesday. Despite denials from family and friends, rumors identified him as the voice behind the song.

“Oh, Nasrallah, be patient, we will bury you in Yabroud!” some mourners chanted in the cemetery under the rain, referring to Hezbollah chief Sheik Hassan Nasrallah.

Some Lebanese Sunnis have fought alongside rebels seeking Assad’s overthrow. Iran-backed Hezbollah has dispatched fighters to battle alongside Assad-loyal forces.

The violence in Syria has spilled over into Lebanon, where more than a dozen suicide car bombs have ripped through Shiite areas. Political bickering over the conflict has left the government paralyzed.

It wasn’t clear what triggered the rumors that Dimashkiyeh was the singer. One mourner said he had been sending the song to friends.

His uncle, Zakariyeh Dimashkiyeh, described him as about 40

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