TRIPOLI, Lebanon: The Lebanese Army said separate attacks on the military in the northern city of Tripoli wounded eight soldiers Wednesday as opponents and supporters of President Bashar Assad engaged in sporadic clashes for a sixth consecutive day.
In a statement, the Army said gunmen fired a rocket-propelled grenade at 6:40 a.m. at a military vehicle in the Tripoli neighborhood of Malloulah, wounding three soldiers. Two remained in critical condition.
The Army identified the perpetrators behind the attack as a group of gunmen headed by Talal Issa.
A security source told The Daily Star that Lebanese troops fired back at the attackers and engaged the gunmen in hit-and-run shootings for about three hours around Syria Street, Talaat al-Omari and Abu Ali roundabout.
The Army also said that another military vehicle came under fire at 7:35 a.m. in the same neighborhood near Abu Ali Roundabout, wounding one soldier.
In the same area in the vegetable market, a group led by Mahmoud Hallaq, also known as Abu Khalil, and Mohammad Mustafa al-Nahili fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a military unit, the Army said, adding that the attack wounded four soldiers.
The Army said the source of the attacks from the three incidents was Bab al-Tabbaneh.
Meanwhile, two people were also wounded in sporadic skirmishes between mainly Sunni Bab al-Tabbaneh and their rivals in the predominantly Alawite neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen.
They were identified as Wassim Qassem and Omar Sammak.
Most schools and businesses in the northern city remained closed for the sixth day in a row.
Seven people have been killed so far mostly by sniper fire in the five-day sporadic clashes between the rival neighborhoods.
The clashes intensified Tuesday following the morning car bomb explosion in the Beirut southern suburb of Haret Hreik that killed four people, the latest in a series of attacks in the capital’s suburbs where Hezbollah enjoys broad support.
Tripoli lawmakers scrambled to contain the violence in Lebanon’s second largest city, which has seen 19 rounds of fighting since the uprising in Syria began in March of 2011.
MPs and Tripoli figures met with caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati at his residence in the city and agreed on a series of measures aimed at ending the fighting.
“We discussed means to restore normal life back to the city ... there was an agreement that this is an absurd and futile war,” Mikati told reporters after the meeting.
“We also strongly condemned any attack against the Army in any shape or form,” he added.