Gun battles in the north city of Tripoli, which killed two people and wounded 17 Saturday, resumed Sunday between the pre-dominantly Alawite neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen and the mainly Sunni district of Bab al-Tabbaneh in the northern city of Tripoli.
One of the wounded from Saturday’s clashes included a teenage girl who is in critical condition. The Lebanese Army, which stepped in Friday to stem the violence, saw at least six of its members wounded.
Shooting echoed Sunday throughout the rival neighborhoods, known for sporadic violence due to sectarian and political divisions.
The clashes that flared up three days ago have raised concerns that the crisis in neighboring Syria might spill over into Lebanon.
Foreign Affairs Minister Adnan Mansour, in an interview with the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai published Sunday, acknowledged that events in the north were likely linked to the crisis in Lebanon’ neighbor.
“I believe that the security incidents in north Lebanon are no doubt a result of the prevailing situations in Syria and north Lebanon,” Mansour said.
Meanwhile, Mufti of Tripoli and North Lebanon Sheikh Malek Shaar, in an interview with local An-Nahar newspaper published Sunday, said there would be no final solution to the problem in Tripoli until the city was demilitarized.
“There will be no final solution as long as there are weapons allowed and there are people brining in hundreds of thousands of ammunition to the north,” Shaar told the daily.
“The state has to take the situation under control so that there are no more arms outside its jurisdiction.”
Shaar also called for a meeting between Muslim scholars in the north in a bid “to determine the northern region’s position regarding several issues, particularly events in Syria.”
“It would then not be permissible for any Muslim scholar to give an opinion that contradicts the main principles we would agree on,” Shaar told the local newspaper.
Lebanon’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani described Saturday the clashes as worrisome and as an attempt to incite strife.
“He urged the Lebanese Army to swiftly place the area under its control and put an end to the violence in a bid to strengthen civil peace and national unity,” Qabbani’s press office quoted him as saying Saturday.
He also warned against similar security breaches, which he said could impact negatively on the situation in the country.
Security sources told that the Lebanese Army had been ordered to arrest on sight anyone carrying weapons and patrols, both on foot and in military vehicles, are ongoing in the Bab Al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen areas. -With additional reporting by Dana Khraiche and Thomas El-Basha