Lebanon News

Death toll rises to 19 in n. Lebanon sporadic clashes

Military armored vehicles are stationed along a street at the Sunni Muslim Bab al-Tebbaneh neighborhood in Tripoli, northern Lebanon March 18, 2014. REUTERS/Omar Ibrahim

TRIPOLI, Lebanon: Intermittent sniper fire broke a tense calm in the northern city of Tripoli Wednesday, killing one person from Jabal Mohsen following days of sporadic clashes between supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The death of Omran Habbous, who was killed by sniper fire in the predominantly Alawite neighborhood, brought the death toll to 19 since the fighting began a week ago.

Six people were wounded by sniper fire including eight-year-old Baker Radwan who was injured near Al-Jihad stadium in Bab al-Tabbaneh. The boy was transferred to a hospital, which was preparing to move Radwan to another medical center due to the lack of available space.

Earlier in the day and amid heavy gunfire, residents of Bab al-Tabbaneh held a funeral procession for militia leader Omar Balah, known as al-Khattab, who was killed in the clashes Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, the Army came under attack once again in the Qibbeh neighborhood when gunmen fired rocket propelled grenades at a military post, wounding a number of soldiers.

Around 4 p.m. two rocket propelled grenades struck a military checkpoint in Talaat al-Omari, prompting the Army to respond to the sources of fire.

A vital highway linking Akkar to Tripoli remained closed as a result of sniper fire.

Normal life returned to remote neighborhoods in Tripoli with some schools opening their doors for students amid tight security measures.

Backed by armored vehicles, the military patrolled Tripoli neighborhoods and set up checkpoints in various areas.

This is the twentieth round of fighting between gunmen from the Sunni majority neighborhood of Bab al-Tabbaneh, which backs the Syrian opposition, and their rivals in Jabal Mohsen, which enjoys close links with the Syrian government.

Tensions have soared between the two neighborhoods since the uprising in Syria began in march of 2011.





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