Hariri condemns Tripoli clashes “caused by Mawlawi’s arrest”

Future Movement leader MP Saad Hariri condemned on Sunday the clashes between the Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen neighborhoods in the northern city of Tripoli.

“What is happening in Tripoli is rejected, and the government is responsible of resolving the issue and stopping what was caused by the arrest of Sheikh Shadi al-Mawlawi,” Hariri wrote on his Twitter social networking website.

He also said that Mawlawi’s arrest by General Security forces was illegal.

“Some people are trying to portray Tripoli as a city against the law, but the truth is that the behavior of one of the security forces’ institutions went against the law,” Hariri said in a reference to the General Security service.

He also called on the army to “bear its responsibilities and protect the city of Tripoli and its citizens,” and for the residents of Tripoli to “remain calm and abstain from being provoked.”

A bloody clash erupted on Sunday morning between the Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen neighborhoods in Tripoli, which left three people dead, including an army soldier.

Clashes between the two neighborhoods are not uncommon. In February, three people were killed and 21 others wounded during fierce clashes between gunmen in Jabal Mohsen, loyal to the Hezbollah-led alliance backed by Iran and Syria, and others in Bab al-Tabbaneh who support the opposition.

Meanwhile, AFP reported that Lebanese troops exchanged fire late Saturday with a group of young Islamists protesting in Tripoli for Mawlawi’s release.

According to a statement from the Lebanese security services, Mawlawi was arrested as part of an "investigation into his ties to a terrorist organization," without going into details.

Lebanon’s political scene is split between supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and the March 14 pro-Western camp.

-NOW Lebanon