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Two killed in north Lebanon in third day of Syria-linked clashes

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Fri, 22 Mar 2013 13:37 GMT
Author: Reuters
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TRIPOLI, Lebanon March 22 (Reuters) - Two people were killed in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli on Friday in fighting fuelled by the civil war in neighbouring Syria, bringing the death toll in three days of clashes to six, security sources said.

At least 35 were wounded, they said. Machineguns and rocket propelled grenades rocked neighbouring districts that are home to communities linked to both sides of the Syrian conflict.

One area is dominated by Lebanese Sunni Muslims, who support the Sunni-led uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and the other is an enclave of Lebanese Alawites, the same Shi'ite Muslim offshoot to which the Syrian leader belongs.

One of those killed on Friday was a soldier, security sources said, a dangerous sign that the army could be dragged into the bloody on-off street conflict.

The army blocked the main north-south highway through Tripoli as sniper fire was reported there and residents said soldiers exchanged gunfire with the militants.

Tensions over the two-year civil war in Syria have frequently led to street fighting in Tripoli. On Wednesday night, it restarted when one man was shot dead and at least 20 were wounded in clashes.

There have also been Syria-linked clashes in the Lebanese capital Beirut and in border regions. (Reporting by Nazih Sadiq; Writing by Oliver Holmes; editing by Ron Askew)

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