Snipers kill 3 as sectarian clashes flare in Lebanon’s Tripoli

Updated 07 December 2012
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Snipers kill 3 as sectarian clashes flare in Lebanon’s Tripoli

BEIRUT: Three men were killed by sniper fire in the Lebanese port city of Tripoli yesterday during sectarian clashes between gunmen loyal to opposing sides in neighboring Syria’s civil war, residents said.
Eight people have now been killed and 73 wounded in fighting in the city that started on Tuesday, the latest bout of violence that has roots in Lebanon’s own 15-year civil war but which has intensified as Syria’s conflict has polarised Lebanese society.
Tensions have been high since at least 14 Sunni Muslim Lebanese and Palestinian gunmen from north Lebanon were killed in a Syrian town close to the border a week ago by Syrian government forces.
They appeared to have joined mainly Sunni insurgents waging a 20-month-old revolt against Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose Alawite faith is derived from Shiite Islam.
Syrian state television has shown graphic footage of the dead Lebanese men, riddled with gunshot wounds.
Tripoli is a majority Sunni city and mostly supports the uprising in Syria, but it also has an Alawite minority and street fights between Sunni and Alawite gunmen have erupted several times since the revolt began.
The clashes on Thursday took place between gunmen from Tripoli’s Sunni neighborhood of Bab Al-Tabbaneh and the Alawite area of Jabal Mohsen. Two of those killed were from Jabal Mohsen and the third from Bab Al-Tabbaneh, but it was unclear if they were involved in the fighting or civilians.
Residents in Tripoli said they had heard heavy gunfire overnight as soldiers tried to stop clashes. The army said two of its soldiers had been wounded and that it had arrested five men on suspicion of opening fire.
Lebanon’s population is deeply divided over Syria’s crisis, with Shiite political and guerrilla movement Hezbollah and its allies supporting Assad and the country’s Sunni-led March 14 opposition bloc backing the revolt.
Politicians in the small Mediterranean state have agreed to distance themselves from the turmoil in its neighbor, but Syria’s deputy foreign minister said yesterday more should be done to prevent Lebanese fighters joining rebels in his country.
“We turn to the Lebanese government and we say, enough. When the situation is linked to the killing of Syrians, it is no longer possible to maintain the position of neutrality,” Faisal Maqdad said in an interview with Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV. He did not elaborate on what measures should be taken.
Assad’s opponents blame Syria — whose troops were garrisoned in Lebanon until 2005 — for the unresolved October killing of Wissam Al-Hassan, a Lebanese security official who was leading an investigation that implicated Damascus and Hezbollah in the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
Lebanon’s Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour asked the Syrian ambassador to hand over the bodies of the gunmen killed in the Syrian town a week ago, after their families protested in Tripoli and demanded the Lebanese government return the dead and determine the whereabouts of the missing.
The bodies will be returned on Saturday, an event which could inflame tensions along Tripoli’s Syria Street, the main thoroughfare dividing Bab Al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen.


Libya’s coast guard recovers five bodies from migrant boat

African migrants rescued from a ship off the coast of Zuwara, about 130 kilometres west of the Libyan capital Tripoli, sit alongside of bodies of others who died, at the dock in the capital's naval base on June 18, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 19 June 2018
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Libya’s coast guard recovers five bodies from migrant boat

  • Since January, some 10,760 migrants have crossed from Libya to Italy, more than 80 percent less than during the same period last year
  • Since last summer, smuggling networks inside Libya have been disrupted under Italian pressure

TRIPOLI: Libyan coast guards said on Monday they had recovered the bodies of five migrants and picked 191 survivors off the coast west of the capital Tripoli.
Libya’s western coast is the main departure point for migrants trying to reach Europe by the sea, though the number of crossings has dropped sharply since last July.
The five dead migrants were brought back to port in Tripoli on Monday along with 115 survivors from various sub-Saharan African and Arab countries, coast guard officials said.
Their boat was intercepted off Mellitah on Sunday after being damaged by rough seas, according to Ayoub Qassem, a coast guard spokesman.
Another group of 76 migrants was intercepted on Sunday off Zawiya, just west of Tripoli.
Since last summer, smuggling networks inside Libya have been disrupted under Italian pressure and Libya’s EU-backed coast guard has stepped up interceptions, returning more than 7,000 migrants to Libya so far this year.
Since January, some 10,760 migrants have crossed from Libya to Italy, more than 80 percent less than during the same period last year, according to statistics from Italy’s interior ministry.
Last week, crossings in the central Mediterranean were thrown into further uncertainty when Italy’s new government closed its ports to a rescue ship operated by humanitarian organizations that was loaded with more than 600 migrants.
It eventually docked in Spain.