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NOW/AFP

Salafists engage pro-Hezbollah
fighters in Tripoli

One person was killed and seven others were wounded in a clash in the heart of Tripoli in northern Lebanon on Thursday, a security official told AFP, in the latest in a string of Syria-related incidents.

 

The army deployed in the souk area, restoring a tense calm four hours after the clash broke out between Salafists who support the revolt in Syria and pro-Damascus fighters from the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, the source said.

 

Two of the wounded were soldiers, though the identity of the man killed in the firefight in the markets of central Tripoli had not been confirmed, the official said on condition of anonymity.

 

It was the first battle since 2008 in central Tripoli, although frequent Syria-related violence has raged in other districts.

 

Meanwhile, Hezbollah’s TV outlet Al-Manar reported that gunmen attacked the Popular Nasserite Organization office in the city with rocket-propelled grenade rounds and machine guns.

 

Lebanon’s army on Thursday battled gunmen in Tripoli as it conducted raids across the city, including in the flashpoint Sunni-populated Bab al-Tebbaneh quarter that has been locked in combat with Jabal Mohsen.

 

On Tuesday, the LAF conducted raids and removed barricades and arms from Tripoli’s Jabal Mohsen following a renewal of sectarian clashes which erupted on Sunday between the rival neighborhoods of Sunni-majority Bab al-Tebbaneh and Alawite-populated Jabal Mohsen, resulting in the killing of five people.

 

The latest confrontations come after a brief lull in the violence between the two sides, after a flare-up last month that left 31 people dead and more than 200 wounded.

 

The violence is tied to the conflict in Syria, where a Sunni-led uprising is fighting to overthrow the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, an Alawite.

A major clash in Tripoli's souks broke out between Salafists [who support the revolt in Syria] and [Syrian Social Nationalist Party] fighters loyal to Hezbollah.