TRIPOLI: Nine people have been killed in five days of fighting in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, where sectarian clashes linked to the Syrian war regularly break out, a security official said Wednesday.
“After a civilian and an army soldier were killed today, the death toll since Friday has risen to nine people,” said the official, who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity.
Another 65 people, including four soldiers, have also been wounded, he added. The latest deaths come a day after the army started deploying troops on the aptly named Syria street, that acts as the front line separating the Sunni district of Bab al-Tebbaneh from Jabal Mohsen.
While residents of Bab al-Tebbaneh support the revolt in neighbouring Syria against Bashar al-Assad, the Alawites of Jabal Mohsen back the regime.
“The clashes ensued despite the army´s attempt to deploy, making it very difficult for troops to enter Syria street,” said the security official.
Then on Wednesday morning, “armed men from Bab al-Tebbaneh launched a rocket-propelled grenade at a military vehicle,” he added.
One of the four troops wounded in the attack died later in the day from his injuries.
Fighting then raged between the army and Bab al-Tebbaneh´s fighters, who view the military as siding against them and on Jabal Mohsen´s side.
The fighting has since subsided, after a meeting Wednesday at caretaker prime minister Najib Mikati´s Tripoli residence, during which a ceasefire was agreed.