Clashes erupt in Northern Lebanon late into the night
Tension between rival neighborhoods erupted in the northern city of Tripoli Monday evening with sounds of sporadic gunfire and hand grenades, amid a heavy military presence in the troubled area.
The latest clash was instigated after a resident of Jabal Mohsen was beaten by a group of young men in Tripoli’s Abi Samra neighborhood.
The attack launched a series of retaliatory road-blocking protests between residents of Jabal Mohsen and Bab al-Tabbaneh, and led to the exchange of sniper fire between fighters from the rival neighborhoods.
Residents of Jabal Mohsen took to the streets and blocked an inner road connecting Tripoli with the north, triggering retaliatory protests from the residents of Bab al-Tabbaneh.
In response, a group of protesters from Bab al-Tabbaneh blocked a major highway to Syria. Although Army patrols worked to quickly reopen the roads, witnesses said that armed individuals were forming groups in both neighborhoods to prepare for a major battle.
The state-run National News Agency said three explosions were heard Monday evening in the area separating Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen, but no casualties were reported.
Late last month, clashes between fighters the two neighborhoods were brought to a halt after the Army brokered a truce and beefed up its presence in key areas that saw intense fighting.
At least six were killed in the previous round of fighting and residents of both neighborhoods fear that another battle could erupt any day. The clashes, which have left dozens of people dead and injured in the past two years, have been linked directly to the civil war in Syria between rebel groups and the Syrian army.
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