Eight dead in Lebanon street battles over Syria

AFP , Wednesday 22 Aug 2012

8 people killed after bloody rivalry between Sunni, Alawite communities in Tripoli, Lebanon

At least eight people have been killed in days of fighting between rival Muslim communities in the Lebanese port city of Tripoli sparked by the conflict in Syria, security sources said Wednesday.

Two people were killed on Wednesday after a bloody day which saw six people killed in street battles between armed men from Sunni and Alawite groups, whose impoverished rival neighbourhoods are symbolically divided by a major thoroughfare called Syria Street.

The fighting has rattled the already fragile security situation in Lebanon, which lived under three decades of Syrian hegemony and remains deeply divided between supporters and opponents of Damascus.

The dead included a 13-year-old boy, while another 75 people have been wounded, including a boy of six who was paralysed by a gunshot wound and 15 soldiers, the sources said.

The fighting first erupted late Monday in Tripoli, home to a Sunni community hostile to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and Alawites, an offshoot of Shiite Islam to which the Syrian leader belongs.

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