Two dead as clashes flare again in Lebanon’s Tripoli

Updated 27 August 2012

Two dead as clashes flare again in Lebanon’s Tripoli

TRIPOLI, Lebanon: Two people were killed yesterday in Lebanon’s northern city of Tripoli, a security source said, where sporadic fighting between pro- and anti-Syrian regime gunmen over six days has mirrored sectarian faultlines in the raging conflict in neighboring Syria.
Sunnis in Syria have been the driving force of a 17-month uprising against President Bashar Assad, whose minority Alawite sect has dominated the country’s political and military elite for more than four decades.
At least 18 people have been killed and more than 100 wounded in nearly a week of clashes in Tripoli.
Lebanon’s army deployed tanks and troops to clamp down on violence on Thursday, but fighting flared up again, residents said. They said the army raided parts of the city on Sunday and arrested several gunmen.
The fighting is the latest in a series of clashes that have hit the port city since the revolt in Syria began in 2011.
Violence has been concentrated in an area where Alawite districts abut Sunni neighborhoods, and have generally not spread across the city or through the rest of the country.
But tensions remain high in Lebanon, particularly its northern region that is home to both sects.
Syria has had far-reaching influence in Lebanon for decades. Assad withdrew Syrian troops from Lebanon in 2005 after a 29-year presence in the country.
Tensions between Alawites and Sunnis in Tripoli date from the 1975-90 Lebanese civil war when Lebanese Alawites fought with troops sent in by Bashar’s late father, Hafez, against Sunnis’ opposed to Syria’s military presence in Lebanon.


Israeli attorney general to decide on Netanyahu charges

Updated 30 min 41 sec ago

Israeli attorney general to decide on Netanyahu charges

JERUSALEM: Israel’s attorney general scheduled a Thursday night news conference to announce his long-awaited decision on whether to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a series of corruption scandals.
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s ruling promises to upend the Israeli political world after two inconclusive elections.
If, as widely expected, he presses charges against the prime minister, it would deal a heavy blow to Netanyahu’s hopes to remaining in office. If Netanyahu is cleared, it would give him a major boost as the country braces for the possibility of its third election in under a year.
The allegations against Netanyahu include suspicions that he accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars of champagne and cigars from billionaire friends, offered to trade favors with a newspaper publisher and used his influence to help a wealthy telecom magnate in exchange for favorable coverage on a popular news site.  
Netanyahu has called the allegations part of a witch hunt, lashing out against the media, police, prosecutors and the justice system.
Netanyahu scheduled a press conference at 6:30 p.m. GMT, an hour after Mandelblit’s expected announcement.