Four dead in Lebanon's Tripoli, shots fired at Sidon cleric

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 03, 2013 6:11 AM
Four dead in Lebanon's Tripoli, shots fired at Sidon cleric

TRIPOLI, Lebanon (Reuters) - Four people died in clashes in Lebanon's northern city of Tripoli and gunmen attacked a cleric in the southern port of Sidon on Monday, security sources said, in more violence stoked by civil war in neighboring Syria.

The overnight clashes in Tripoli ended a week of relative calm after 29 people were killed last month in the deadliest fighting yet between gunmen who support the uprising against Bashar al-Assad and Alawite supporters of the Syrian president.

At least one of the dead came from the Sunni Muslim Bab Tebbaneh neighborhood, and 27 people were wounded, mainly by sniper fire in the city center, the sources in Tripoli said.

Lebanon is struggling to curb the spillover of violence from Syria, where 80,000 people have died in the last two years.

Twelve people were killed on Sunday just inside Lebanon in a fight between pro-Assad Hezbollah guerrillas and Syrian rebels.

In Sidon, gunmen fired at Sunni cleric Maher Hammoud as he headed towards his mosque for dawn prayers. They missed their target and fled when Hammoud's two guards returned fire.

Hammoud is seen as close to Hezbollah and has criticized a prominent Sidon Islamist, Sheikh Ahmed al-Assir, who has called on Lebanese Sunnis to head for Syria to fight Assad.

(Reporting by Nazih Siddiq in Tripoli; Editing by Alistair Lyon)