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NOW

Fierce clashes grip Tripoli

The intensity of the clashes subsided Friday morning after heavy fighting from midnight until 5 am lead to the death of at least one person.

Tripoli fighting
The Lebanese Armed Forces deploy in Tripoli (NOW)

Fierce clashes that witnessed mortar shelling and heavy gunfire gripped Tripoli overnight as the death toll mounted on the fifth day of fighting.

 

Lebanon's state National News Agency reported that the intensity of the clashes subsided Friday morning after heavy fighting from midnight until 5 am lead to the death of at least one person and the injury of eleven others. 

 

Mortars and rocket propelled grenades exploded across the axes of clashes overnight, including the Harat al-Baraniyeh, Al-Gharbaa and Al-Zahiriyeh areas near Bab al-Tebbaneh as well as Abou Ali roundabout and Al-Miatayn street, the NNA added.

 

The shelling forced Imams of mosques in the shelled areas to issue calls for residents to seek refuge in lower floors of buildings or in shelters, the report also said.

 

NOW’s correspondent reported that more than 50 missile rounds were used in a three-hour period overnight. 

 

As a result of the shelling and crossfire a number of fires erupted in Tripoli hotspots, including a clothing shop in the Wheat Market area of Bab al-Tebbaneh, which NOW's correspondent said burned down.

 

Tripoli’s Al-Taqwa mosque committee canceled Friday’s Muslim communal prayers due to the situation, the correspondent added.

 

Al-Jadeed television reported that President Michel Suleiman asked security forces to deploy necessary units to control the situation in Tripoli.

 

He also called on all officials to work to save the city.

 

On Thursday night, Tripoli Sunni Sheikh Salem al-Rafei raised the rhetoric in the city with his call for the dissolution of the Alawite Jabal Mohsen-based Arab Democratic Party after some of its party members were reportedly indicted for the August Tripoli bombings.

 

“I request that the state dissolve the ADP given that the investigations accused it of [carrying out] the Tripoli bombings,” Rafei said on Thursday following a meeting between front commanders and sheikhs in the cleric’s residence.

 

Rafei said that the state must treat ADP chief Rifaat Eid as “a criminal.”

 

Elsewhere, caretaker Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said in remarks to Al-Liwaa newspaper that a plan to preserve Tripoli’s security was agreed upon during a meeting held at the presidential palace on Thursday morning.

 

“The plan is balanced. It will install security, accelerate development in the North, and will be implemented very soon,” Charbel stressed.

 

Tripoli MP Khoder Habib said in an interview with As-Siyasah newspaper that “the main reason why Tripoli’s security plans have failed is because the city’s residents are asked to lift political coverage off the armed parties, but the state and its security agencies are not responding.”

 

The Future bloc parliamentarian also said that his party and the March 14 coalition have given full authority to the Lebanese Armed Forces to lift political coverage off any person who tampers with security.

 

At least 6 people have reportedly been killed in the fighting that erupted Monday after Jabal Mohsen residents began shooting celebratory gunfire when Al-Mayadeen TV broadcast an interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

 

The flare-up of violence in Tripoli took place despite the presence of security forces that have been deployed earlier in the month as part of a security plan which was masterminded following the twin explosions that rocked the city on August 23, leaving 45 people dead.

 

Jabal Mohsen, where most residents share the Alawite faith of the Syrian president, has long been a bastion of support for his regime, while residents of Bab al-Tebbaneh back the Sunni-led revolt.

 

Militants from Jabal Mohsen and Bab al-Tebanneh have clashed on numerous occasions since the Syrian civil war erupted in 2011.

A video uploaded Thursday night purportedly shows fighting in Tripoli.

The events of Thursday night were described as the most violent so far.

  • EDH

    @HANIBAAL: While it is indeed a good short term strategy to put blame on Israel in order to avoid a civil war inside the country, this is not enough. Poor and uneducated people are very easily brainwashed, and that's exactly what's happening in Tripoli. We need to do something about that, otherwise moderate sunnism will disappear soon, and be replaced extremism. A speech by nasrallah won't help, he should rather make more open minded decisions, and start supporting the Lebanese army, not only for Lebanon's sake, but also for his own people. Sunni extremism won't do any good to anyone in the country, let alone an invasion of jihadists from syria.

    October 27, 2013

  • Hanibaal-Atheos

    @EDH: I agree with you. I was merely being sarcastic - this is the usual drivel we get from Lebanese and Arabs in general. While we are killing one another, we just shift the responsibility elsewhere, by typically blaming the "Zionists" in Israel and the conspiracies cooked up in Washington. You missed the joke, but you also fell in the trap by saying that "it is a good strategy to blame Israel in order to avoid a civil war". We have been killing one another for 50 years, AND we have been blaming Israel for the same 50 years.... Not only is this (your) strategy asinine, but it has not worked. Tye more we kill one another, the easier it is to blame others. The only strategy that works is for the Lebanese to evolve politically, to have a sense of what a nation is, to use reason instead of emotion, religion, faith and other primitive elements in defining themselves....Do not get me wrong: I think that every word from Hassan Nasrallah's mouth is garbage, yet the Lebanese - in their destitute intellect and their lust for prophets and messiahs - have elevated the man to their pantheon. He is (…) hiding in his hole, as he will hide for the rest of his days. He is a traitor to his country, having sold it to Iran.

    October 28, 2013

  • EDH

    I owe u an apology! ur post below was hilarious when i read it again, after your clarification.

    October 28, 2013

  • EDH

    As for the forementionned "strategy", well, i did stress that it should only be a short-term strategy. To be honest, that's what have kept us from a second civil war.. so far. It should not be... and cannot be a long term strategy. I'd also love in an ideal world to make lebanese people use reason instead of passion&religion, but unfortunately that'll never be the case. I'm trying to be pragmatic here, and one solution for now is to keep blaming israel for what's happening inside, AND leverage the syrian situation to put pressure on Nasrallah and convince him to support the army, AND maybe get Mikati and Hariri to finance development projects in Tripoli. in a world made of sugar.. :s

    October 28, 2013

  • Hanibaal-Atheos

    It's got to be the United States and Israel behind these clashes, because the Alawis and Sunnis of Tripoli are Muslim Arab brothers who would never raise a hand on one another. The lurking enemy must be actively sowing discord and hatred between otherwise loving brothers. When will these conspiracies by evil westerners and Zionists stop? Don't they have better things to do than conspire against us and against the Arab and Muslim Umma? I think it is time for yet another enlightening Hassan Nasrallah speech to expose and shed light on these conspiracies. Also, Walid Jumbatt should pontificate once more on how these clashes benefit no one but the enemy Israel.

    October 26, 2013