9 killed in Syrian-linked clashes in Lebanon
Tripoli, June 3, 2012
Clashes erupted between heavily-armed supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Lebanon's port of Tripoli on Saturday, killing nine people.
Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati rushed there to try to stop the violence.
Mikati held talks with ministers and officials in the northern city, as gunmen a few miles away fired machineguns and rocket-propelled grenades at each other.
Residents and a doctor said 42 people had been wounded.
The clashes began just after midnight on Friday and were continuing late on Saturday night when mortar bombs could be heard, said a Reuters journalist at the scene. The army moved into the area with armoured vehicles but did not open fire.
Gunmen from the Jabal Mohsen district, home to the minority Alawite sect - the same offshoot of Shi'ite Islam to which Assad belongs, have fought on-off skirmishes over the past few weeks with Sunni Muslim fighters in the Bab al-Tabbaneh area.
Saturday's death toll is the highest in a single day in Tripoli, raising fears that Syria's unrest could spill over into its smaller neighbour. - Reuters