TRIPOLI, Lebanon: Seven Lebanese soldiers were wounded as their bus came under gunfire in Tripoli Tuesday, the Army said, after overnight clashes in the northern city left a girl killed and nine people wounded.
A military statement said a bus carrying soldiers from the Tripoli neighborhood of Malouleh to work came under gunfire from armed gunmen, leaving seven soldiers wounded.
It said the Army was hunting down the attackers.
A security source told The Daily Star that one soldier was in critical condition after the 6 a.m. bus attack.
Clashes broke out in Tripoli overnight, with gunmen tossing stun grenades, stones and Molotov cocktails at Lebanese Army positions between midnight and 3 a.m., according to the source.
The source said that an 8-year-old girl died Tuesday after succumbing to wounds she sustained during the overnight clashes in the Bab al-Tabbaneh area. Nine other people, including four Lebanese soldiers, were also wounded, the source added.
An attack on the delegation of the Muslim Scholar Committee in Arsal triggered the fighting at the Abu Ali roundabout and nearby Talet al-Omari, according to the source.
Three members of the committee were wounded when their vehicle came under fire as it entered the embattled Bekaa Valley town of Arsal at midnight to mediate a truce between militants and the Lebanese Army.
While Sheikh Salem Rafei and Sheikh Nabih al-Halabi were slightly wounded in the attack, Jalal Kalash was rushed to a Beirut hospital in critical condition.
Sniper fire targeting the Abu Ali roundabout all the way to Maaloula roundabout has kept the highway linking Tripoli with the northern province of Akkar paralyzed.
A statement issued on behalf of Bab al-Tabbaneh residents said they disavowed themselves from the militants.
It described the clashes between the Lebanese Army and the gunmen as “very serious," adding that the 20-strong group were loyal to Shadi Mawlawi and Abu Omar Mansour.
“We still believe that the Lebanese Army is the protector of the homeland and the citizens,” the statement said, while urging the military to “act responsibly.”
The Committee of Muslim Scholars, meanwhile, said it had “no clear evidence” as to who targeted the delegation’s car.