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Two days of fighting kill 10 in Lebanon's Tripoli

AFP , Sunday 1 Dec 2013
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Ten people, including a woman and an off-duty soldier, have been killed in two days of sectarian clashes in northern Lebanon linked to the war in neighbouring Syria, a security source said Sunday.

The fighting in the northern port city of Tripoli also wounded 49 people, including 11 soldiers, the source told AFP.

On Sunday four people were killed, two of whom were in a truck when they were shot dead by a sniper, while the third was the off-duty soldier and the last victim a woman who died of injuries sustained the previous day.

Their deaths came after a day of fierce clashes that lasted into the night, leaving six dead. .

The fighting pits residents of the city's Alawite Jabal Mohsen district against Sunni residents of the neighbouring Bab el-Tebbaneh.

The source said fires had broken out in buildings along the dividing line between the neighbourhoods as a result of the fierce clashes during which rocket-propelled grenades were also used.

Tensions between the neighbouring areas date back to Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war but have been exacerbated by the conflict across the border in Syria, where Alawite President Bashar al-Assad is battling a Sunni-led uprising.

The Lebanese army remained deployed in the coastal city in the north of the country on Sunday, responding to sporadic sniper fire.

A military source said soldiers had arrested four suspects, confiscated their weapons and took them in for questioning.

At least eight soldiers were among those wounded in Saturday's clashes, and the dead included 15-year-old Omar al-Haswani, who was killed inside the Luqman school, near Bab el-Tebbaneh.

During the height of Saturday's violence, soldiers moved into the school to evacuate students in military vehicles.

The others killed included three residents of Bab el-Tebbaneh, as well as a Syrian and a Palestinian, the security source said.

Tensions have been running high in Tripoli since Thursday, when residents of Jabal Mohsen began flying Syrian flags to demonstrate their support for the Assad regime.

In response, residents of neighbouring Bab el-Tebbaneh raised the flag favoured by rebels seeking the ouster of Assad.

The same day, gunmen shot and wounded four Alawite workers in the city, prompting condemnation and demonstrations by Alawite residents.

Meanwhile in southern Lebanon, a member of Palestinian movement Fatah was shot dead in the country's largest camp for Palestinian refugees, an official told AFP.

"Two men with their faces covered opened fire using machine guns at 25-year-old Fatah member Mohammad Saadi. He has been confirmed dead," said Maher Shabayta, a Fatah leader in the Ain al-Helweh camp.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, another official said a second man, a 50-year-old civilian named Ibrahim Abdel Ghani, was killed when armed members of Saadi's family took to the streets and started shooting randomly to protest his death.

The deaths come two days after clashes pitting Fatah, the Palestinian group that Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas heads, against radical Islamists in the camp.

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