PHOTO: Fighting in Lebanon’s Tripoli in June
In Tripoli in northern Lebanon, the death toll from Saturday’s fighting between supporters and opponents of the Assad regime has risen to six, with at least 36 wounded.
A seventh person died of a heart attack while fleeing sniper gunfire.
Seven soldiers are among the injured.
Clashes during the day were followed by heavy shelling overnight, including in areas usually unaffected by the recurrent violence. The firing eased early Sunday but resumed at about 9 a.m.
Snipers were also active Sunday morning throughout the city, including the international highway that links Tripoli to the northern region of Akkar.
Anti-Assad activists in the Sunni-majority Bab al-Tabaneh neighborhood issued a statement threatening to target the Alawi-majority residents of Jabal Mohsen. They demanded that the head of the pro-Assad Arab Democratic Party, Ali Eid, be handed over to authorities.
Eid was charged with aiding the smuggling of a suspect in the August 23 double bombing in Tripoli, which killed more than 40 people, across the border into Syria. He has failed to appear in court for questioning.
Fighters in Jabal Mohsen said in a statement that they will confront any attack against residents and will impose a blockade across Tripoli.
“Starting Monday, the entire city of Tripoli will be a target for our military operations,” they said, adding that fighters will also target anyone from neighboring districts who attempts to enter the city
Caretaker Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said on Sunday, “The state will strike with an iron fist in Tripoli, installing security [measures] and preventing the situation from deteriorating [in] which innocent citizens pay the price.”
Charbel said that President Michel Sleiman and caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati have approved the unification of security forces in Tripoli under the command of the army.