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

by Reuters
Monday, 3 June 2013 16:33 GMT

A gunman takes shelter from gunfire in Bab Al Tabbaneh, a Sunni district, in the northern Lebanese town of Tripoli May 26, 2013. REUTERS/Omar Ibrahim

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The clashes were between gunmen sympathetic to the uprising against Syria's President Assad and Alawite supporters of him

(Updates deathtoll)

TRIPOLI, Lebanon, June 3 (Reuters) - Six people were killed in clashes in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli and gunmen attacked a cleric in the southern port of Sidon on Monday, security sources said, in violence stoked by civil war in neighbouring 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 sympathetic to the uprising against Bashar al-Assad and Alawite supporters of the Syrian president.

Three of the dead came from the Sunni Muslim Bab Tebbaneh neighbourhood. A total of 38 people were wounded, mainly by sniper fire in the city centre, 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 criticised 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 Angus MacSwan)

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