Clashes turn deadly in Lebanon's Tripoli

Lebanese army soldiers evacuate civilians caught in sniper fire in the Lebanese northern coastal city of Tripoli on November 30, 2013. (Photo: AFP - Ghassan Sweidan)

Published Saturday, November 30, 2013

At least four people were killed and thirteen injured in Lebanon's northern city of Tripoli on Saturday in exchanges of fire, the Lebanese National News Agency reported.

The dead include a teenage schoolboy and an elderly man who died of heart attack caused by the fighting, the NNA said.

Eighteen people, including two soldiers, were wounded in the shooting between gunmen in Bab al-Tabbaneh, whose residents mainly support the rebels battling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and the adjacent neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen, which supports the Syrian leader.

Saturday's fighting followed repeated attacks in Tripoli, residents said. Several people were shot and wounded in separate incidents this week, and several men were beaten in an attack on a bus earlier in November.

Lebanon's caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, who is from Tripoli, held talks with the interior minister and other security officials in the Mediterranean city to discuss how to end the violence, which erupted despite the deployment of soldiers in both rival districts.

Sniper shots and rocket fire could still be heard in the area more than two hours after the fighting broke out, residents said.

The divisions in Tripoli, 30 kilometers from the Syrian border, reflect the tensions across Lebanon over Syria's civil war.

Two car bombs in August killed 42 people and wounded hundreds at Tripoli mosques, just a week after a car bomb in the suburbs of Beirut killed 27 people.

Clashes between fighters in Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen have flared several times in recent months, killing dozens since the beginning of the year.

In the Bekaa Valley, the Lebanese army said it defused three 107-millimeter Grad rockets on Friday near the northeastern town of al-Qaa near the Syrian border. It said the rockets were ready for launching when they were discovered.

Suspected supporters of the Syrian rebels have fired several rockets in the area, saying they were in response to the intervention by Hezbollah in Syria's civil war.

(Reuters, Al-Akhbar)

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