Naharnet

Army Deploys to Contain Tripoli Unrest after Man Arrested for Appearing in Shaker's Video

Unrest erupted Monday afternoon in the northern city of Tripoli as a man was arrested for interrogation after he appeared alongside singer-turned-Islamist militant Fadel Shaker in a video circulated in the wake of the Abra battle.

“A hand grenade was hurled near Tripoli's Serail as gunmen appeared on the city's streets and blocked roads in al-Nour Square and al-Beddawi,” MTV reported.

LBCI television said gunmen were roaming the city's streets on motorcycles while firing their guns in the air.

A percussion bomb was hurled at al-Nour Square as businesses closed in the area, state-run National News Agency reported.

"Clashes erupted between the army and gunmen at al-Salam roundabout in Tripoli," LBCI said.

Later on Monday, Voice of Lebanon radio (93.3) said "more gunmen" arrived at al-Nour Square and "some of them tried to provoke security forces by firing an RPG over the serail."

"Unknown individuals are hurling hand grenades in Tripoli's Abi Samra, al-Mitain, al-Zahriyeh and Dam wal Farz," it added.

Al-Jadeed said gunfire was heard in the vicinity of the Rashid Karami International Fair Complex.

"An army post tasked with preserving security near the Syrian Social National Party's office in Tripoli has come under gunfire and the army sent reinforcements to the area," Voice of Lebanon said.

Army units started deploying across the city later on Monday in a bid to contain the unrest.

"The Lebanese army has deployed along the road linking Nini Hospital to the Abdul Hamid Karami Square," al-Jadeed said.

Voice of Lebanon said the army "stormed al-Nour Square and fired a flare bomb in the location, which prompted protesters to leave the square after army troops and vehicles deployed in it."

"The army has seized full control of the al-Behsas, al-Jemmayzet and al-Nour Square areas and the commando and airborne regiments have arrived on the scene to settle things decisively," military sources told LBCI.

"The army reopened roads in al-Behsas and the Abdul Hamid Karami roundabout and gunmen have retreated to the city's internal alleyways," state-run National News Agency reported.

Earlier on Monday, LBCI said “a threat has been issued that all roads in Tripoli would be blocked in case the army did not release Ghali Haddara, who was arrested by intelligence agents in Tabarja after appearing in a recent video with Fadel Shaker.”

For its part, Voice of Lebanon radio (93.3) said gunfire erupted at Souk al-Qameh in protest at the arrest of Ghali Haddara in al-Qobbeh.

Shaker is now on the run with fellow fugitive cleric Sheikh Ahmed al-Asir.

The pair are now being sought in a nationwide manhunt after clashes between Asir and his Salafist supporters and the military in the southern city of Sidon that left 18 soldiers and at least 20 gunmen dead.


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