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Syria-Fuelled Violence Kills Three in Lebanon’s Tripoli

Syria-Fuelled Violence Kills Three in Lebanon's

Tripoli – Three people were killed overnight in fighting in the north Lebanese city of Tripoli, security sources said on Sunday, raising to nine the death toll in 24 hours of violence fuelled by sectarian tensions over Syria’s civil war. The clashes between Tripoli’s Alawite minority, which supports Syria’s Alawite President Bashar al-Assad, and majority Sunni Muslims who back the Syrian rebels, is the latest round of violence which has killed more than 100 people in the Mediterranean city this year.

Gun battles have broken out five times since March, killing dozens of people, and twin car bombs at Sunni Muslim mosques in Tripoli killed 42 people in August. The latest clashes were preceded by repeated attacks on Alawite targets over the last week in which several people were wounded.

Tripoli residents said the sounds of heavy gunfire and rocket explosions echoed across Lebanon’s second city from midnight to 6 am. The city was quieter after dawn, they said, with soldiers patrolling otherwise empty streets of the rival neighborhoods, but occasional bursts of gunfire continued.

Security sources said the dead were all from the Sunni Muslim Bab al-Tabbaneh district. Dozens of people have been wounded since the battle erupted on Saturday morning, including nine soldiers and several people from the Alawite neighborhood of Jebel Mohsen, they said.

Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, a Sunni Muslim from Tripoli, held talks with Interior Minister Marwan Charbel and other security officials on Saturday to discuss how to end the violence, which erupted despite the deployment of soldiers in both districts. (Reuters)

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