Masked gunmen have shot a policeman in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli in the second killing of a member of the security forces in two days.

Friday's shooting came a day after the new cabinet of the Lebanese prime minister, Tammam Salam, approved a security plan for the city, where at least 29 people have been killed in the past fortnight.

Security sources said Boutros Bayaa was killed instantly when the gunmen opened fire on his car around 5.30am, hitting him in the head.

Fighting has flared in Tripoli this month between members of the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shia Islam, and majority Sunni Muslims, who have also clashed with security forces.

The violence in Lebanon has been fuelled by the civil war in neighbouring Syria, where mostly Sunni rebels are battling to topple Alawite President Bashar al-Assad.

Salam's predecessor Najib Mikati announced in December that he had given the army full responsibility for restoring control in Tripoli, but the move failed to stem the bloodshed.

Officials have not given details of the latest security plan for the city. It was decided on Thursday at the first meeting of Salam's cabinet since his government won a vote of confidence in parliament last week.


Source: Reuters