Muslims attend prayers at the Abdullah bin Massoud Mosque in Bab al-Tabbaneh in Tripoli, Friday, Oct. 31, 2014. (The Daily Star/Fathi Masri)
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This was the mosque in which fugitive militants Shadi al-Mawlawi and Osama Mansur were allegedly hiding during the latest Army campaign in Tripoli – although some in the neighborhood, the hardest-hit in the fighting, said they had left Bab al-Tabbaneh earlier.A sense of melancholy permeated the embattled neighborhood, whose civilians suffered through rounds of violence with the neighboring Alawite-majority Jabal Mohsen over the Syrian war, only to endure the fallout of clashes between the Army and militants.Unemployment is high among youth, and residents say the poverty allows politicians and extremists to exploit young men.Residents mostly complained that a large-scale offensive was not necessary to clear the neighborhood, and that the Army was capable of simply arresting suspected militants, which they numbered as a maximum of 20 .In its myriad campaigns against terrorism, the Army has always taken major precautions to avoid civilian casualties.Speaking to The Daily Star, an Army source denied that Army helicopters bombarded Bab al-Tabbaneh. Mahmoud said he supported the Army and the state and stood against terrorism, but said residents should have been warned to leave the neighborhood and that politicians on both sides of the aisle had fooled the people.
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