One person was killed and six wounded in the north Lebanese city of Tripoli on Saturday in sectarian clashes linked to the conflict in neighbouring Syria, a security official said.
Fighting with machine guns and rockets erupted between the impoverished districts of Bab al-Tebbaneh and Jabal Mohsen, pitting Sunnis against Alawites belonging to the same religious community as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The fatal shooting of a Jabal Mohsen man broke a tense calm that had held since Friday morning, when the army deployed troops in restive areas of the port city as snipers held their positions.
The victim was among 14 people, including two children, killed since Tuesday in rival districts of Lebanon’s second city.
The army would probably receive reinforcements on Sunday morning, the source told AFP.
The majority of Tripoli’s residents are Sunni Muslim and support the anti-Assad revolt in Syria. A minority of Alawites, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, back the Syrian regime and fear potential sectarian violence should Assad fall.
Lebanon is deeply divided over Syria. The Shiite movement Hezbollah, its allies and supporters bitterly oppose the revolt, while the Sunni-led March 14 movement backs it.
Near daily clashes in border areas inside Syria pit Shiite residents who support Hezbollah against anti-Assad rebels, residents and activists say.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]