Over ten dead in North Lebanon clashes
The sectarian clashes in Northern Lebanon, which left more than ten dead in the past three days, were resumed on Wednesday in Tripoli, reported the national news agency. Clashes with heavy weapons have reported since Monday night between the historical rival neighborhoods of Bab el-Tebanneh (mostly Sunnis and opposing the Syrian regime) and Jabal Mohsen (mainly Alawite and pro-Assad).
"The sound of gunfire and explosions are heard in the city," reported the agency.
At least ten people were killed, according to medical sources quoted by Reuters. A 13 year old boy, Ali Mahmoud Ahmad, was among those killed, said a security source. A woman, Mana Sayyed, was hit yesterday in the head by a bullet in Bab el-Tebbaneh.
According to hospital sources, 42 Sunni residents were injured. Among them, a child of six years old. At least 18 people were injured in Jabal Mohsen. The army, which is supposed to separate the two districts, reported 15 wounded in its ranks, according to a military source.
As usual, the two warring parties have blamed the outbreak of hostilities on each other. According to the sources, the clashes began after a brawl between children from the two districts, who played war with toy guns. The case soon degenerated into battles between adults who have turned to real weapons.
According to a second version recounted by a resident of Tripoli, the fighting began when children playing in a public park located in mixed area of the two districts were wounded by gunfire after Sunnis celebrated the reportedly death of Maher al-Assad, President Bashar's brother.
Fires have damaged several houses and cars in the two districts, according to security services.
On the political level, a meeting was held Tuesday evening at the home of MP Mohammad Kabbara to try to calm things down, but it could not impose a cease-fire despite appeals for calm.
Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati called the army and the security forces "to do their utmost to stop this absurd battle." "We have repeatedly warned that we should not get caught up" in the crisis in Syria "but it is clear that many parties want to precipitate the conflict in Lebanon," said Mikati.