Lebanese PM to hold talks with Tripoli lawmakers

Published March 18th, 2014 - 07:47 GMT

The northern city of Tripoli witnessed a cautious calm on Tuesday morning after a night of sniper attacks and intermittent gunfire between the warring parties, the state-run National News Agency reported.

NNA said that gunmen from the rival neighborhoods of Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen clashed on Monday night using machineguns and resorting to sniper fire.

The Lebanese army responded to the sources of fire, it said.

Prime Minister Tammam Salam is expected to hold talks with Tripoli’s lawmakers, including former Prime Minister Najib Miqati, to discuss ways to bring the fighting under control.

Al-Liwaa daily quoted a cabinet minister as saying that Tuesday's meeting at the Grand Serail could be followed by a meeting of the Higher Defense Council at Baabda Palace.

A minister, who was not named, also told An Nahar that the country's top political, military and security leaders should meet to resolve the situation in Tripoli and the instability in several towns in the eastern Bekaa Valley.

“There should be a serious and comprehensive plan after the government received political consensus,” he said.

The international highway that links Tripoli with the northern district of Akkar was on Tuesday open and witnessing limited traffic, NNA said.

Schools and shops that lie relatively far from the hotspots were also open, the agency added.

The latest fighting, which left scores of casualties, broke out on Thursday after a Jabal Mohsen man was killed by unknown gunmen on a motorbike in central Tripoli.

The clashes are linked to the civil war in neighboring Syria. Jabal Mohsen residents are Alawites from Syrian President Bashar Assad's sect, while Bab al-Tabbaneh is majority Sunni.

The rebels seeking to topple Assad in the three-year-old war are Sunnis.

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