Fresh fighting erupted Thursday in the northern city of Tripoli leaving one dead and two wounded, a security source said, despite a truce to halt days of violence between pro- and anti-Damascus gunmen.
The latest death brings to 10 the number of people killed in fighting since Monday between residents of the Sunni-dominated Bab el-Tebbaneh neighbourhood and those of adjoining Jabal Mohsen, who mainly adhere to the Alawite offshoot of Shiite Islam.
“One person was killed and two others wounded in Jabal Mohsen in an exchange of fire with residents of Bab el-Tebbaneh,” the source told AFP, adding that clashes had continued throughout the night.
The violence comes despite a ceasefire that local security, political and religious officials had agreed would take effect at 1400 GMT on Wednesday.
Both sides have deployed anti-tank rockets and automatic weapons in the fighting, which has also left more than 80 people wounded.
Lebanon’s Sunni communities largely oppose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while its Alawites, who belong to the same minority as the Syrian leader, are pro-Damascus.
A single road, named Syria Street, divides the two Tripoli districts that are the latest theatre for violence spilling over into Lebanon from its conflict-wracked neighbour.
The port town of Tripoli and Beirut have seen increasing violence since the Syrian conflict, which has killed over 23,000 people according to human rights activists, erupted 17 months ago.
A wave of kidnappings preceded the latest round of fighting and rattled the already fragile security situation in Lebanon, which lived under three decades of Syrian domination and remains deeply divided between supporters and opponents of the Damascus government.
Prime Minister Najib Mikati, a native of Tripoli, on Wednesday raised fresh concern at “efforts to drag Lebanon more and more into the conflict in Syria when what is required is for leaders to cooperate … to protect Lebanon from the danger.”
The authorities have instructed the army and security forces “to bring the situation under control, to prohibit any armed presence and to arrest those implicated” in the violence, he said in a statement.