Tripoli Death Toll Hits 7 as Clashes Renew at Night and Army Arrests Gunmenإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Clashes renewed on Wednesday evening in the rival Tripoli neighborhoods of Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen after a brief lull, as the army made contacts with the warring parties and fired back at the sources of gunfire, especially sniper fire.
An Energa-type rifle-launched grenade fell in the vicinity of al-Mallouleh area and was followed by an exchange of gunfire between Jabal Mohsen and Bab al-Tabbaneh, LBCI television reported.
A security official told Agence France Presse that sniper fire killed seven civilians in on Tuesday and Wednesday in the two rival districts.
The security official said four were killed on Wednesday, while three others died the day before.
"Khodr Hanoub, a man in his 40s, was killed at dawn Wednesday in the district of Bab al-Tabbaneh," the official said, adding that Ali Habbabeh was killed in the adjacent district of Jabal Mohsen.
The official also reported the killing in Bab al-Tabbaneh of Zakaria Othman and Mehdi al-Beik on Wednesday, while Khaled Salem, 27, was killed overnight.
They died a day after kiosk owner Mohammed Ibrahim, 65, was killed in Jabal Mohsen by a sniper operating from across the street-turned-front line separating the two impoverished neighborhoods.
Also on Tuesday, Bab al-Tabbaneh resident Abdul Rahman Nassouh was shot dead.
While there was a lull in fighting on Wednesday, snipers held their positions and continued to shoot, an AFP correspondent at the scene said.
The official reported 57 people wounded altogether, including two soldiers.
The National News Agency said that the armed clashes intensified during day hours between fighters in the areas of Qobbeh, al-Mankoubin, Mallouleh, Bab al-Tabbaneh, and Syria Street and others in Jabal Mohsen.
The army has been returning fire against the sources of gunshots.
The Army Command said in a statement its troops “staged patrols, erected checkpoints and fired back immediately at the sources of gunfire,” noting that five people were arrested on suspicion of involvement in the shooting and that a quantity of weapons and ammunition was found in their possession.
“Two soldiers were wounded in the security operations as some military vehicles sustained material damage,” said the statement.
The detainees and the confiscated items were handed over to the relevant judicial authorities, according to the statement.
Light and medium weapons could be heard in the battles, as well as sounds of rocket-propelled grenades.
Earlier on Wednesday, a meeting was held at the residence of al-Mustaqbal MP Mohammed Kabbara to discuss the developments in the northern city.
The meeting was held in the presence of State Minister Ahmed Karami, Ahmed al-Safadi representing Finance Minister Mohammed al-Safadi, MPs Samir al-Jisr, Moein al-Merehbi, Khaled al-Daher and several other officials.
The attendees urged the rival neighborhoods to end all the armed clashes under the auspices of the army, calling on it to control the situation in the city.
“We should find a permanent solution to the recurrence of the incidents,” Kabbara told reporters after the meeting.
He also called on the government to compensate all the families affected by the gun battles.
The clashes broke out over the weekend in wake of the announcement of the death of a number of Lebanese Islamist fighters, who mainly hail from the North, in the border region of Tall Kalakh in Syria on Friday.
Media outlets had conflicting information about the number of people who died and those who survived the attack.
While the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that a group of 30 rebels "were caught in an ambush by government troops in the area of Tall Sarin near the town of Tall Kalakh”, Voice of Lebanon radio (100.5) said the ambush left 20 Lebanese men dead, adding that they hail from Akkar's Fnaideq and Tripoli's Bab al-Tabbaneh and al-Mankoubin neighborhoods.