Lebanon News

Tripoli attack on Army raises fears of return to violence

Lebanese army on armored vehicles patrol the area in Tripoli, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014. (The Daily Star/Antoine Amrieh)

TRIPOLI, Lebanon: A roadside bomb exploded early Tuesday close to a Lebanese Army patrol in Tripoli, renewing fears that the military would once again become a target of attacks in the northern city.

There were no casualties from the 3:15 a.m. blast, the Army said.

In a statement, the military said the 800 gram bomb – put in a metal box with a quantity of metal balls – was planted on the side of a road in the Tripoli neighborhood of Bab al-Raml.

The Army sealed off the area, and the military police launched an investigation into the explosion.

The incident raised concerns that the fragile security in Tripoli could quickly deteriorate despite efforts by local and religious figures to prevent a resurgence of clashes and confrontation between the military and the youth.

Local sheikhs have discouraged young Sunnis from holding sit-ins and protests against the Army’s arrests and the prolonged detention of Islamists from the city.

The Lebanese Army has frequently come under attack in Tripoli since launching a new security plan in the northern city earlier this year to end recurrent clashes tied to the Syrian civil war.

Sunni radicals have claimed responsibility for attacking Lebanese soldiers in the past. They accuse the Army of showing bias toward Hezbollah and arbitrary detention.

There is growing support for Syrian rebels among the mainstream Sunni community and Hezbollah’s role in Syria alongside regime troops has been a point of contention in Lebanon.

Meanwhile, Akkar Governor Imad Labaki chaired a meeting for the Central Security Council in the northern region, bringing together a number of security officials from various agencies.

The meeting proposed the creation of a joint security chamber to intensify efforts and follow up on current security measures.

The participants also stressed on the importance of having security agencies remain on high alert particularly during the holy month of Ramadan. They asked for an increase in the number of security personnel as well as patrols.





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