Naharnet

Sidon Clashes Spill Over as Roads Were Blocked in Tripoli, Army Positions Become Target to Fire

Sunday’s clashes in the southern city of Sidon spilled over other Lebanese regions, as roads were blocked in the North, the Bekaa and Beirut and army patrols came under fire in Ain el-Hilweh refugee camp.

This come after two army officers, a sergeant and three soldiers were martyred and several others were wounded earlier on Sunday in a clash with supporters of Salafist cleric Sheikh Ahmed al-Asir in the Sidon suburb of Abra, the Army Command said in a statement.

The fighting erupted when Asir supporters surrounded an army checkpoint in Abra, where a vehicle transporting other supporters of the cleric had been stopped, a security source told Agence France Presse.

LBCI television said the clash in Sidon allegedly erupted over the army's arrest of two individuals linked to the Bilal bin Rabah Mosque.

“The Lebanese army checkpoint in al-Taamir is being targeted by gunfire from the Ain el-Hilweh camp,” Future television reported.

The state-run National News Agency National News Agency confirmed the news, saying that one of the Lebanese army's positions came under fire from the Taamir-Ain el-Hilweh area.

Also, an army base was hit with an RPG at the Abu Ali roundabout in the northern city of Tripoli, but no casualties were reported, LBCI television said.

“Several roads were blocked with burning tires in Tripoli in protest at the clashes in Sidon.”

The same source noted: “Gunmen on motorcycles are roaming Tripoli's streets and an exchange of gunfire erupted between the army and gunmen at the Abu Ali roundabout.”

Moreover in the North, a number of young men blocked the el-Mina-Beirut highway in Tripoli facing the Quality Inn Hotel in solidarity with al-Asir.

But later on Sunday, roads leading to the Abdul Hamid Karami Square in Tripoli were reopened in both directions.

Meanwhile in Beirut, dozens of young men roamed the Tariq al-Jedideh area on motorcycles while chanting slogans in support of Salafist cleric Sheikh Ahmed al-Asir.

“Young men blocked the al-Barbir road near al-Khasheqji mosque with trash bins,” Radio Voice of Lebanon (100.5) noted.

LBCI said protesters blocked the road in Beirut’s Verdun Street in protest at the Sidon clashes.

The tension of Sidon also spilled over to the Bekaa as the Taalabaya-Saadnayel road was blocked in both directions, al-Jadeed television said.

“Gunmen appeared in al-Masnaa area and in the central Bekaa town of al-Fayda as the Qob Elias-Aammiq road was blocked with burning tires in support of Asir.”

“The Ras Baalbek road was blocked with burning tires in protest at the martyrdom of Captain George Abu Saab in Sidon’s Sunday clashes,” LBCI added.

According to LBCI, the Halba-Qobaiyat road in the northern city of Akkar was blocked at the intersection of the town of Menjez.


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