Fresh violence rocks Lebanon’s Tripoli
At least 16 people, including seven soldiers were reportedly wounded in a clash late Friday in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, in violence apparently linked to the death of a prominent Islamist militant.
Agency France Press quoted a security official as saying seven Lebanese army troops, three civilians and six Islamist gunmen were wounded in the clash in Lebanon’s second largest city.
“The number of wounded soldiers has risen to seven,” said the official, who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity.
“Six gunmen were wounded and six others were arrested,” he said, adding: “Three civilians were wounded in the crossfire.”
The clash that initially erupted in the souks (traditional markets) area of Lebanon’s second city also extended to other areas.
Lebanon’s The Daily Star newspaper quoted security sources as saying the violence erupted shortly after rumors spread that a high-value “terrorist” died following his capture by the military in the Dinnieh region of the coastal city.
The daily identified the high-value “terrorist” as Ahmad Salim Mikati, a key member of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Ever since the war in neighboring Syria broke out in 2011, Tripoli has been the scene of regular fighting between Sunni militants and members of Lebanon’s Alawite minority.
Islamist gunmen have also turned on the Lebanese army, accusing it of targeting Sunnis and of cooperating with the powerful Shiite movement Hezbollah.
Hezbollah has sent thousands of fighters into Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad.
Friday’s clashes were the first since the outbreak of Syria’s war to break out in the souks area, which is traditionally a touristic site.