Lebanon News

Four wounded in north Lebanon as tensions high

A general view of Tripoli, Tuesday, July 12, 2011. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

TRIPOLI, Lebanon: Four people were wounded by sniper fire Sunday in the northern city of Tripoli as fears continued over the possibility of renewed clashes between opponents and supporters of President Bashar Assad.

Sporadic sounds of gunfire, which started following news of the assassination of head of Internal Security Forces Information Branch Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hasan, continued well into the night.

A number of rocket propelled grenades were tossed in the Talaat al-Omari area as well as in the area of Abu Ali River.

Rival groups in anti-Assad, Sunni-dominant neighborhood of Bab al-Tabbaneh and their rivals in Alawite-majority neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen have clashed on several occasions this year, leaving scores of people dead and over 100 wounded.

The Army strengthened its presence in the city following deadly fighting in August after rival political groups agreed to a tentative cease-fire.

As news emerged of the killing of Hasan Friday, angry residents blocked several roads in Tripoli using burning tires along with other areas in the northern region.

The opposition March 14 coalition has accused Assad of being behind the car bomb that ripped through a residential area near the busy Sassine Square in the Beirut district of Ashrafieh Friday afternoon leaving at least 5 people dead including Hasan and 110 wounded.

The group, which enjoys a strong support base in Bab al-Tabbaneh, has also called for the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s Cabinet.

Mikati offered his resignation Saturday and called for the formation of a national consensus Cabinet. He added that President Michel Sleiman asked him not to rush a decision, as he consults members of the National Dialogue Committee on the matter.





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