Lebanese army deploys to halt 2nd day of clashes

The Lebanese army deployed on Saturday to halt two days of heavy sectarian fighting in the northern city of Tripoli which medical sources said had killed nine people.

Lebanese army deploys to halt 2nd day of clashes
Soldiers, backed by armoured vehicles, took up positions between Sunni and Alawite districts of the city in an effort to stop clashes which have wounded at least 68 people and forced residents to flee their homes. The sides exchanged heavy grenade and machinegun fire until dawn.

"The army will respond to any sources of gunfire, any gunmen will be detained," Ashraf Reefi, the head of the Internal Security Forces, said during a meeting of security officials on Saturday, the National News Agency reported.

The dead included a woman, a boy and a man who was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade while driving his taxi.

"It's unacceptable for Tripoli and its poor and deprived districts to keep paying the price of escalating internal political crisis," Economy Minister Mohammed Safadi, a Sunni politician from Tripoli, said in a statement.

A protracted political conflict between the sides was largely resolved in May by a Qatari-mediated deal.

The Alawite faith is a small offshoot of Shi'ite Islam and its adherents are mostly based in Syria which is ruled by President Bashar al-Assad, himself an Alawite.

Last Mod: 27 Temmuz 2008, 13:31
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