Middle East

Death toll rises in Lebanon's Tripoli

At least 22 people killed and 120 injured in latest clashes linked to the civil war in neighbouring Syria.

Last updated: 21 Mar 2014 21:03
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Tripoli, like much of Lebanon, is divided along sectarian lines and is only 50km from the Syrian border. [AFP]

Battles have erupted again in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, with gunmen firing automatic weapons, mortar bombs and rocket-propelled grenades.

At least 22 people were killed and 130 injured in clashes over Thursday and Friday, Lebanese sources told Al Jazeera.

On Friday evening, mortar bomb exchanges and gun battles were reported between fighters from the Sunni Bab al-Tabbaneh district, and those in Jabal Mohsen, which is predominantly Alawite.

Two gunmen wounded in clashes overnight on Thursday died of their wounds on Friday, the sources said.

An elderly civilian man was also shot dead by a sniper on Friday. Eleven others were wounded.

Tripoli, like much of Lebanon, is divided along sectarian lines and is only 50km from the Syrian border. Its majority Sunni Muslims, who back the Syrian rebels, often clash with the minority from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's Alawite sect.

Weapons base

Tripoli's Sunnis and Alawites have clashed on-and-off for decades but the Syrian conflict has worsened tensions, with each side accusing the other of using the city as a base for sending fighters and weapons in and out of Syria.

The small Mediterranean country experiences regular car bombs and rocket attacks, as well as incursions by the Syrian army in pursuit of rebels who move across the border.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, Lebanon's parliament gave a newly-formed cabinet a vote of confidence, ending almost a year of political deadlock.


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