Conflicting Reports over Reasons Behind Fire in Tripoli Shop

A shop owned by an Alawite was set on fire on Saturday in Souq al-Qamh area in the northern city of Tripoli, media reports said.

The arson was allegedly caused after Ziad Allouki torched a shop owned by Firas Hashem from Jabal Mohsen neighborhoods.

Arab Democratic Party media official Abdul Latif Saleh told accused Yehia Allouki, the brother of Ziad, set ablaze the shop.

Souq al-Qamh is located in Bab al-Tabbaneh neighborhood.

However, Allouki denied in comments to LBCI the accusation.

State-run National News Agency said that the fire was caused by an electrical friction.

A security source told OTV channel that fire erupted at one shop in Souq al-Qamh, adding that other shops owned by Alawites were not targeted.

The army issued later a communique later saying that “fire erupted at a house in the area of Souq al-Qamh, caused by an electrical current friction.”

The statement denied that “shops or houses were being torched over sectarian disputes.”

The news agency said that the Army and Civil Defense units arrived swiftly at the scene and extinguished the fire.

It noted that an investigation was opened into the incident.

The Sunni district of Bab al-Tabbaneh borders the Alawite Jabal Mohsen area, and gunmen in the two areas regularly open fire on each other.

Violence has regularly broken out between the two communities as the conflict in Syria -- pitting a Sunni-led opposition against the Alawite regime -- raises tensions.

Several Tripoli municipal workers from Jabal Mohsen were shot in their feet recently in vengeful sectarian attacks.

The attacks were claimed by the “Military Committee to Avenge the Victims of the Tripoli Bombings,” referring to deadly twin car bomb blasts that targeted Sunni mosques in Tripoli in August that killed 45 people.

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