Three Lebanese soldiers wounded in fresh Tripoli clashes

Published Saturday, July 28, 2012

Three Lebanese soldiers were injured on Saturday morning as they intervened to end fresh clashes between rival neighborhoods in the northern city of Tripoli.

A row between two residents of the areas of Jabal Mohsen and neighboring Bab al-Tabbaneh escalated into violent clashes beginning around midnight and ending at dawn.

The military intervened to end the fighting, a statement by Lebanese Army Orientation Directorate said on Saturday.

The statement said they had entered the area after the violence broke out, adding that light and medium arms were used.

The troops set up roadblocks and raided the sites where the gunmen were hiding, leaving three soldiers and a number of citizens injured.

The military statement said it was hunting down those responsible for the clashes.

Violence between the residents of Jabal Mohsen, home to the Alawi sect to which Syrian President Bashar al-Assad belongs, and those from Bab al-Tabbaneh, who are Sunni Muslims, have intensified as the Syrian crisis has continued.

The neighborhoods have long-standing grievances separate from the Syria conflict, but the uprising next door threatens to ferment strife among Lebanon's population.

The city was the scene of fierce fighting in May when leading Islamist Shadi Mawlawi was arrested on suspicion of links with an unspecified "terrorist" organization.

Hundreds of Salafis began a protest in the city's center while clashes took place elsewhere. Tensions eased when a judge released Mawlawi on bail.

(Al-Akhbar, NNA)

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