25 Dead, 175 Hurt as Tripoli Fighting Enters 9th Day amid Call for Unilateral Ceasefire

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The northern city of Tripoli was witnessing fierce clashes on Friday as the casualty toll from nine days of fighting rose to at least 25 dead and 175 wounded amid a call for a unilateral ceasefire and intensive political contacts to end the violence.

"After we held contacts with the army command in the North, we asked the leaders of Bab al-Tabbaneh and the neighboring areas to cease fire starting 10:00 PM and the army must respond to any source of gunfire," MP Mohammed Kabbara said after an emergency meeting for the Islamic National Gathering at his residence.

But Ziad Allouki, the chief of an armed group in Bab al-Tabbaneh, told LBCI TV: "We're not concerned with any ceasefire or with Kabbara's meeting."

However, LBCI later reported that Allouki and Saad al-Masri, another top militant, had urged their supporters to cease fire after agreeing on the truce "with Bab al-Tabbaneh's residents, not with the politicians."

Earlier, state-run National News Agency said the casualty toll from nine days of clashes hit 25 dead and 175 injured by Friday evening, following the death of Omar al-Khaledi in Bab al-Tabbaneh.

“Clashes have escalated in Tripoli's Souk al-Qameh and Syria Street and three shells are exploding every five minutes,” al-Jadeed television reported in the afternoon.

NNA said four people were wounded when a mortar shell struck a building in the Jabal Mohsen neighborhood, identifying them as Alaa Abdul Rahman, Ahmed Mohammed Mohammed, Adnan al-Saqqa and Hafez Mohammed.

“A mortar shell hit a house in Jabal Mohsen, leaving four children wounded, one critically,” Abdul Latif Saleh, a spokesman for the Arab Democratic Party -- the main armed and political force in the district – told al-Jadeed.

He told LBCI TV that 82-mm mortar shells were targeting the neighborhood.

NNA said a man identified as Shihab al-Obeid was killed by sniper fire in Bab al-Tabbaneh and that sniper gunshots were hitting all the frontiers of clashes, especially the Bab al-Tabbaneh highway.

In the evening, five people were wounded in Bab al-Tabbaneh, according to NNA, which identified them as Syrian national Radiya Kolaj and Lebanese citizens Mohammed Mheish, Mohammed Turmaz, Bassem Turmaz and Raeda Zakaria.

For its part, Voice of Lebanon radio (93.3) said a mortar landed at the entrance of the al-Beddawi Palestinian refugee camp and that sniper fire was targeting all the hotspots.

And Voice of Lebanon radio (100.5) said two rocket-propelled grenades exploded in al-Baqqar.

Later on Friday, Tripoli's MPs held an emergency meeting at MP Mohammed Kabbara's residence, describing the deadly clashes as a “war of attrition against all of the city's assets and against all Tripoli residents.”

“This is a conspiracy and a blatant crime against Lebanon's second capital that is aimed at completely undermining its security and we cannot remain silent over this. Today, Tripoli is abandoned and no one is asking about its situations or seeking to halt the bloodbath that is engulfing its neighborhoods,” the conferees said in a statement.

“The cabinet, which won the vote of confidence yesterday, should have met immediately and summoned the chiefs of the security agencies to find a quick solution aimed at protecting Tripoli's residents from the continuous attacks on them,” they added.

The lawmakers called on the army to “perform its duties in responding to the sources of gunfire and taking the measures that would contribute to stopping these attacks,” urging the military institution “not to retreat, especially that it enjoys a political and local cover.”

The MPs also urged the army to take firm steps in a “fair and balanced” manner, condemning the attacks that targeted troops in Tripoli and calling for the punishment of the perpetrators.

The army “must play its role and confront all security violators and we call on the president and the premier to immediately ask the cabinet to hold an emergency meeting, as Tripoli, whose sons are being killed, will not await the comprehensive security plan and it rather needs deterrent and quick measures to stop this aggravating, unbearable bloodshed,” they added, accusing the “gang of Jabal Mohsen” of starting the current round of fighting.

Earlier on Friday, LBCI said the army searched some houses in Jabal Mohsen and carried out raids in al-Baqqar after a soldier was wounded by sniper fire in the morning.

The army came under heavy gunfire as it entered al-Baqqar to carry out the raid, it said.

“Army units are continuing to implement the security measures they had started this morning to contain the situation in the city of Tripoli and are immediately responding to the sources of gunfire and snipers, the thing that has left four soldiers wounded,” the Army Command said in a statement.

“These units also raided the positions of gunmen in Qobbeh's Hariri residential complex, Jabal Mohsen's al-Amerkan Street and the areas of al-Baqqar and al-Riva, seizing weapons, ammunition and military equipment,” the statement added.

A security source told Agence France Presse that two people were killed in Bab al-Tabbaneh and a third in Jabal Mohsen overnight, as gunmen fired from both sides.

A fourth died in Jabal Mohsen of wounds sustained two days earlier.

The deaths were the latest in a round of fighting between gunmen in the Sunni district of Bab al-Tabbaneh and fighters in the Alawite Jabal Mohsen neighborhood. The fighting had first erupted last week following the shooting death of a Jabal Mohsen man.

The army has deployed in the city in a bid to calm the tensions, but has come under fire several times.

Overnight, an explosive device detonated as the army patrolled in the city, wounding one soldier, the security source said.

The army later issued a statement explaining that the device was planted on the side of the road in the al-Bohsas area.

It was detonated when an army patrol passed by the area, but no one was injured in the attack.

Several nearby vehicles were damaged in the incident, said the communique.

Comments 19
Default-user-icon alexandre (Guest) 21 March 2014, 10:36

Stay like that please. You will end up beggars, poor people and probably amputee like a number of old people in Tripoli.
As for us, we keep focusing on real issues, develop our knowledge, develop our wealth and money. We leave the country go to the US, Europe or Gulf, find a nice woman with whom we have kids who are also educated. We then come back to Lebanon because make no mistake : We will never leave - open our own large businesses in Lebanon and start hiring all sort of people from drivers to managers. As for you, if you are still alive and in one piece, the best that could ever happen for you is to work as a driver for us...sure implying to take the bus from Tripoli to Beirut on a daily basis.
Your hate and limited brain will bring you nothing else than misery and will keep the competition low so that we can enjoy more

Default-user-icon sempre (Guest) 21 March 2014, 12:41

Sad but true. When an entire region or indeed nation becomes paralyzed, its prospects of repair get dimmer by the day. It's sad they do not realize this, but it is their choice to make and responsibility to bear the consequences. Hopefully they'll come to their senses once the war next door is over, but I fear it will leave long-lasting after-effects which some fraction of future generations in Lebanon in general and Tripoli in particular will exhibit all to clearly, particularly animosity towards among Lebanese which will require a great deal of time to passify and uproot.

Missing ArabDemocrat.com 21 March 2014, 18:45

The army need to pacify Tripoli and the government demand and enforce that no militias are allowed North of the Litany.

Missing jeff070 21 March 2014, 19:01

If you are Lebanese, which I am presuming you are, and have no compassion to what is happening and care less because your business is going so well, you need to leave. If your conscience doesn't bother and prompts you to write these words, then you are not Lebanese. Go back to your home "Gulf, Europe, or US".

Default-user-icon alexandre (Guest) 22 March 2014, 08:36

Well, do you want me to show compassion for people who are motivated only by sectarian hate? These people have lost any moral and are taking us to the brink of civil war only because of their limited brain and hate. Let them blow themselves in their artificially created sick cause. My cause is much bigger, it is the cause of Lebanon, its wealth and its democracy.

They can barely read and will continue to beg from the State as usual while we would continue developing our wealth, knowledge and education. This is our weapon and this is the reason why we will always remain far ahead in Lebanon and in the region. We know to forgive, we know to contain our hate, we know to respect the others who are different

We all know who how these people will end up: dead, amputee, beggars in jail...and certainly far from happiness.
If you care about them soo much obviously because you only see that you are from the same sect, go and help them to have a brain and learn how to respect/forgive.

Missing coolmec 21 March 2014, 22:52

what am excellent post
Congrats +1

Thumb lebanesenationalist 21 March 2014, 13:41

You know, that's what I never understood about Lebanon.. I get that there are huge differences in opinions in the country, big disagreements on key issues and all that. But there are many things that most people and parties agree on. Why does the government (not just this one or the last) rarely do anything?

They can improve things like traffic and speeding problems, internet, electricity, and many others. But no, nothing ever gets done. All under the excuse that "el wade3 mish mni7". El wade3 sarlo 81 senne mish mni7 bi Lebnen..

Thumb popeye 21 March 2014, 18:11

lol @ado.... keep roaring!

Missing peace 21 March 2014, 18:24

"the obstruction going on in running the country is not by HA. It is by geagea and his likes"

LOL sure it is geagea who disobeyed the baabda declaration... it is geagea who has a strong militia.... it is geagea financing the armed groups in tripoli... it is geagea siding with a foreign army shelling lebanese territories and airforce bombings! LOL

Default-user-icon Tribal Monkeys (Guest) 21 March 2014, 22:14

The six or so answers to your question, collectively, are why nothing ever gets done; straight to irrational vitriol. Our problems shouldn't be a surprise, we have no "national" identity. We've barely been a nation for 70 yrs, and have been occupied and fragmented countless times within that period. Tribal mentality...follow the tribal leader...

Thumb cedre 22 March 2014, 00:28

which real sunnis haboub ft? these ones ?


Thumb cityboy 21 March 2014, 15:55

do you have a link

Thumb lebanesenationalist 21 March 2014, 20:54

You guys remember that play by Rahbani, Film Ameriki Tawil? The character Rashid (Malek el se7a el Lebneniye) talks about how he would stop the violence and armed groups in the country.

The Army should take a sound clip of that part of the play, and blast it all over Tripoli. And let the Army confront anyone carrying weapons, shooting, fighting...Since we all agree (at least publically) that the violence in Tripoli needs to stop, yalla this can be done.

Thumb FlameCatcher 21 March 2014, 21:00

Any positive action Hezbollah wants to do in Lebanon ? Ever been any positive action by the way ? NIET !

Default-user-icon Actionman (Guest) 21 March 2014, 21:34

Can you we not all put our differences aside ?We can always debate but why use violence?it is so sad.23 dead ppl,who cares which sects they belong to?pro or anti Assad,they are human beings.

Missing coolmec 21 March 2014, 22:49

If this government does not ask for the UN
Ir should then resign

Thumb beiruti 22 March 2014, 01:06

When Hezbollah is prosecuting the war in Tripoli, what can Lebanon do to make it stop??

Missing coolmec 22 March 2014, 01:20


Default-user-icon pisideon (Guest) 22 March 2014, 05:15

Pls keep the fighting going on in Tripoli and whatever happens I hope the army don't get involved between the monkeys with long beards and shaved moustaches in Tripoli. Let them blow themselves up waste their money on arms and demolish there ugly looking houses and streets with the hope one day civilised people will move in and rebuild after they have been wiped out by their own sword. These people are uncivilised and don't understand the democratic let alone the diplomatic way. They operate only via the sword. Live by the sword and thou shall die by the sword.