Lebanon tasks army with restoring Tripoli security

Within the last two weeks, at least 32 people have been killed in the latest round of sectarian violence between Tripoli's Alawite-majority Jabal Mohsen neighborhood and the Sunni-majority Bab al-Tabbaneh district.

Lebanon tasks army with restoring Tripoli security

World Bulletin / News Desk

The Lebanese government on Thursday tasked the army with restoring law and order to the restive city of Tripoli, which in recent weeks has been shaken by sectarian violence.

"The government decided to assign the army and security forces with implementing a plan to maintain security in Tripoli," Information Minister Ramzi Joreige said following a cabinet meeting.

"The plan will include a ban on the use of arms," Joreige said, adding that, under the plan, the army would seize arms depots in both Sunni and Alawite parts of the city.

Speaking at Thursday's cabinet meeting, President Michel Suleiman said the current security situation in Tripoli – Lebanon's second largest city – required "radical solutions."

On Thursday, a Lebanese soldier was shot dead in the city by unknown assailants.

Within the last two weeks, at least 32 people have been killed in the latest round of sectarian violence between Tripoli's Alawite-majority Jabal Mohsen neighborhood and the Sunni-majority Bab al-Tabbaneh district.

Some 145 people, meanwhile, have been injured in the unrest.

The recent bloodletting is only the latest in a pattern of violence that has seen 20 separate clashes between the two rival neighborhoods within the last six years.

Since 2008, almost 200 people have been killed and hundreds injured in violent confrontations between armed residents from the two districts, according to an informal survey by Anadolu Agency.

The sectarian violence was initially prompted by the 2005 assassination of late Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri.

While Syria's Alawite regime had been accused of standing behind the Hariri assassination, the allegation has never been proven.

The ongoing conflict in next-door Syria, meanwhile, has served to fuel Lebanon's sectarian tensions.

'High-profile terrorist' killed in Lebanon, says army

A high-profile terrorist has been killed in the eastern Lebanese town of Arsal, the army said on Thursday.

In a statement, the army said Sami al-Atrash had opened fire on an army patrol during a raid on his hideout, prompting army forces to fire back, injuring him.

According to the statement, al-Atrash later succumbed to his wounds.

The statement said that the slain militant was responsible for preparing booby-trapped cars, rocket attacks and assaults on civilians and army troops in Arsal.

Earlier on Thursday, a medical source said al-Atrash had breathed his last as soon as he arrived at an eastern Lebanon hospital.

Hezbollah strongholds in southern Beirut were the target of repeated attacks over the past few months, which were claimed by several groups that cited Hezbollah's involvement in the Syrian conflict for the attacks.

Last Mod: 28 Mart 2014, 09:50
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