TRIPOLI, Lebanon: Two Alawite men were shot Wednesday in the Kandarjiyeh Souk in the northern city of Tripoli.
Unidentified gunmen opened fire at Omran Fazah and his son Saleh, wounding them both in the legs. Fazah and his son are not residents of the mostly Alawite neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen. Two passersby, Khaled Iali and Jihad Omran, were also lightly wounded.
According to local residents, the Fazah owns a shop in the souk and pays protection money to a local militia to ensure the well-being of his business. He rarely faces any problem in the souk and the attack was likely linked to sectarian tension, the resident said.
Attacks on Alawite men have been on the rise in Tripoli after members of the Arab Democratic Party, based in Jabal Mohsen, were implicated in the twin explosions targeting the Al-Salam and Al-Taqwa mosques in Tripoli in August.
The attacks targeting Jabal Mohsen residents, in which most were shot at around the legs, have caused dozens of injuries and contributed to further tension in the battered city. Tripoli has witnessed 19 rounds of clashes between Alawites in Jabal Mohsen and Sunnis in Bab al-Tabbaneh linked to the Syrian crisis.
Later Wednesday, a stun grenade was tossed at an Army checkpoint in the Tripoli neighborhood of Zahrieh. The Army and the attackers also exchanged gunfire that wounded three people, including a child. The wounded were transfered to the Islamic Hospital in the northern city.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 27, 2014, on page 3.