TRIPOLI, Lebanon: Calm was restored to the battered city of Tripoli Thursday, enabling residents to enjoy their first peaceful night after six consecutive days of violent clashes that have killed nine, including two soldiers, and wounded around 80.
The death toll rose from eight after a second Lebanese soldier died of critical wounds sustained during an attack on the military in the northern city Wednesday.
In a statement, the Lebanese Army confirmed the death of Corp. Fadi al-Jamous, who was hit by shrapnel after a rocket-propelled grenade was fired at an armored personnel carrier in the Tripoli neighborhood of Maaloula.
It said three soldiers, including Jamous, were wounded in the 6:40 a.m. attack. One of them, Hussein Saadeddine, died later that day.
Seven people were killed in ensuing clashes, mostly by sniper fire.
The statement said the Army was the target of two other attacks Wednesday, all three of which were launched from the mainly Sunni neighborhood of Bab al-Tabbaneh. Four other soldiers were wounded when their patrol was attacked by a rocket fire, the statement added.
Traffic was normal in Lebanon’s second-largest city Thursday following nearly a week of clashes between opponents and supporters of President Bashar Assad. Schools and universities opened their doors once again, but many parents opted to keep their children at home out of fears for their safety.
Also Thursday, local representatives of trade unions and civil society groups as well as activist social and economic figures held a meeting in the Mothers’ Committee offices to discuss the recurring rounds of violence and ways to save the city.
“There has been systematic destruction of the economic, educational and social infrastructure of the city ... [and] the security plans have been turned into announcements of numbers of personnel to be spread in the city without aim or effectiveness,” the participants said in a statement.
“The laxity of the politicians has turned them into partners in the crimes [committed against the city], and we raise our voices and urge the state to shoulder its responsibilities toward a Lebanese city,” the statement said. “If the state can do nothing, then maybe it should pass the issue of Tripoli to the United Nations Security Council.”
“The state is also required to conclude the investigations and apprehend those who planned, executed and killed the innocent people in the Taqwa and Salam mosques ... Otherwise let it refer the case to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon,” the statement added, referring to the twin suicide bombings in the city last August.