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Lebanon: Clashes rock Tripoli, killing 6

23rd Mar 2013

At least six people were killed – including one soldier – and 18 more wounded in renewed violence in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli since Thursday night.

The first death came in an exchange of fire in the Qubbeh neighborhood of the city, security sources told AFP, identifying the man as 26-year-old Moatassem al-Shamra. Two others were were wounded in the same exchange of fire.

The source said a second man from the Bab al-Tabbaneh neighborhood was also killed, adding that a total of 18 people had been wounded in the ongoing clashes.

A soldier was killed and others were injured during raids around Tripoli, the Army Command Guidance Directorate announced in a press release issued on Friday. The Lebanese army continued to respond to heavy gunfire and conducting patrols on Friday, Lebanon’s National News Agency reported.

A barrier was erected on one of Tripoli’s main roads to protect passersby from sniper fire, and checkpoints have been set up across the city, most notably blocking access to Abdel Hamid Karami square. The military said it had apprehended a number of militants and seized weapons and ammunition.

The deaths came after days of unrest in the city, where violence has frequently erupted between the neighborhoods of Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen.

On Wednesday, a sniper shot dead one person in Bab al-Tabbaneh, according to a security source, who said four others were wounded in an exchange of gunfire that followed.

MP Mouin Merehbi called for intensive efforts to be made to prevent Tripoli from getting dragged into turmoil, calling on all security branches to restore order.

“The situation in Tripoli does not require more than a thousand soldiers,” he told radio station Voice of Lebanon.

Tripoli has been rocked by deadly clashes between supporters and opponents of the Syrian government, where a two-year conflict has killed at least 70,000 people according to UN estimates.

(Al-Akhbar, AFP)

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