Sectarian tensions look to be boiling over again in northern Lebanon today, with three people, including a pair of Lebanese soldiers, wounded in a gunbattle in front of a Tripoli hospital.
The battle, which was reportedly brief, included residents of a Sunni neighborhood and a Shi’ite neighborhood both adjoining the hospital. Both sides claimed to be acting in self-defense, and the military responded by setting up checkpoints in the area.
Members of the local Alawite party claimed that masked Salafist fighters have set up a bunch of alternative checkpoints in their neighborhoods, and that they were behind the initial shooting, as well as a shelling attack on a pharmacy in a Shi’ite neighborhood.
The sectarian fighting in Tripoli isn’t happening in a vacuum, but is rather a reflection of tensions created by the growing civil war in neighboring Syria, with Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebel fighters openly urging the city’s Sunni population to rebel.
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