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Updated: Two dead in sectarian clashes in Lebanon's Tripoli

AFP , Saturday 30 Nov 2013
Lebanon
Clashes in Tripoli, Lebanon (Photo: Reuters)
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Two people were killed and at least 10 others wounded on Saturday in sectarian clashes in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, a security source told AFP.

Clashes regularly erupt between Alawite residents of the Jabal Mohsen neighbourhood, who support their co-religionist Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and Sunnis from the Bab al-Tebbaneh district, who back the Sunni-led Syrian rebels.

The security source identified the two killed as 15-year-old Omar al-Haswani, who was killed inside a nearby school, and a man in his thirties called Jihad Merab, both Sunnis from Bab al-Tebbaneh.

He said that seven residents had been injured in the clashes.

Lebanese soldiers helped evacuate the remaining students from the school where the teenager was killed, and other schools in the city closed for the day.

The Lebanese army said troops were on the ground responding to sources of fire, and that two soldiers had been injured.

The army statement added that another man from Jabal Mohsen had been injured earlier in the day by gunfire in a different Sunni neighbourhood of the city.

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 of Tripoli.

Tripoli's population is 80 percent Sunni and 11 percent Alawite -- an offshoot of Shiite Islam -- and violence between the two communities dates back to Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war.

But the tensions have been aggravated by the conflict in Syria, and the city was struck by a deadly double car bombing in August that killed 45 people.

Two people were killed and at least 10 others wounded on Saturday in sectarian clashes between residents of the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, a security source told AFP.

Clashes regularly erupt between Alawite residents of the Jabal Mohsen neighbourhood, who support their co-religionist Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and Sunnis from the Bab al-Tebbaneh district, who back the Sunni-led Syrian rebels.

The security source identified the two killed as 15-year-old named Omar al-Haswani and a man in his thirties called Jihad Merab, both Sunnis from Bab al-Tebbaneh.

He said that seven residents had been injured in the clashes.

The Lebanese army said in a statement that troops were on the ground, responding to sources of fire, and that two soldiers had been injured.

The statement added that another man from Jabal Mohsen had been injured earlier in the day by gunfire in different Sunni neighbourhood of the city.

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 Syrian flag favoured by rebels seeking the ouster of the Assad regime.

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

Tripoli's population is 80 percent Sunni and 11 percent Alawite -- an offshoot of Shiite Islam -- and violence between the two populations has gone on for decades.

But the tensions have been aggravated by the conflict in Syria, and the city was struck by a deadly double car bombing in August that killed 45 people.

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