World Bulletin / News Desk
Three Lebanese soldiers were injured on Friday in an exchange of fire with unidentified gunmen in the predominantly-Sunni Bab al-Tabbaneh district of the northern city of Tripoli, a Lebanese security official confirmed.
The official said the gunfight had occurred following a verbal altercation between a group of gunmen standing guard at a Sunni mosque in Bab al-Tabbaneh and army personnel on patrol.
The gunmen had been protecting the house of worship against possible attack.
The soldiers asked them to leave the task of protecting the mosque to the army.
The ensuing verbal exchange escalated into a gunfight, which left three soldiers injured, the officials said.
Tensions ran high on Friday in Bab el-Tabbaneh and in the neighboring Alawite-majority area of Jabal Mohsen.
The Lebanese army deployed ground reinforcements as dozens of young men blocked Syria Street, which separates the two districts.
Armed civilians, meanwhile, took to adjacent streets.
The two rival districts have been engaged in recurring rounds of sectarian bloodletting since the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, for which the Alawite-led Syrian regime was blamed.
The conflict, which has left over 170 dead and over 1,000 injured, erupted in the wake of the 2011 Syrian uprising.
Tripoli, Lebanon's second largest city, witnessed a deadly bombing last August outside two Sunni mosques that left over 42 dead and 400 injured.Last Mod: 10 Ocak 2014, 16:45