Lebanese army clash with gunmen in Tripoli
Lebanese army retaliated in Bab al-Tabbaneh, Tripoli (file/AFP)
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The Lebanese army enforced strict measures in the northern city of Tripoli on Thursday to restore calm following overnight gunbattles with gunmen in the neighborhood of Bab al-Tabbaneh.
According to a communique issued by the army command on Thursday, the military is carrying out raids in pursuit of offenders who opened fire at the army and arrest them.
“At 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Houssam al-Dayekh and others tossed grenades in Bab al-Tabbaneh, prompting an army unit to apprehend him,” the statement said.
The army continued that the army patrol came under fire after al-Dayekh's arrest that led to clashes with a group of armed men.
“Arms and military equipment were seized during raids carried out by the army,” the communique added, noting that a soldier was wounded.
Another armed man, identified as Mahmoud Qassem, was arrested and mortar shells were seized in his possession.
The army kicked off its security plan in Tripoli last week.
It is aimed at putting an end to the rounds of clashes between the rival impoverished neighborhoods of Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen.
Tensions between the two districts go back decades but have been exacerbated by the war in Syria, where Alawite President Bashar Assad faces Sunni rebels seeking to topple him.
Successive rounds of violence between the neighborhoods have killed dozens of people and brought parts of the city to a standstill.
The implementation of the security plan was faced with protests and attacks on Tuesday where angry men tossed several hand grenades in al-Baraniyeh as residents shortly blocked the roads of al-Dabagha and wheat market with burning tires.
The grenade attack and the road closure were aimed at stopping the army from carrying out raids to arrest suspects involved in dozens of clashes that the city had witnessed in the past years.