Constant Mortar Fire as Sectarian Violence Continues in North Lebanon

24 Killed, Hundreds Wounded So Far This Week

The sectarian fighting that began over the weekend continued apace in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli today, with security forces estimating 1,200 mortar shells were fired as two neighborhoods exchanged attacks throughout the night and into the following morning.

Six more people were killed, bringing the toll in the latest round of violence to 24 killed, and well over 200 wounded since Sunday. The fighting is between fighters from the Sunni neighborhood of Bab al-Tabbaneh and the Alawite neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen.

The similarity to the sectarian civil war in Syria is not coincidental, and the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) has been openly trying to rile up Lebanese Sunnis to take up arms for months. The Lebanese military has been trying to stop the fighting between the neighborhoods but has so far been entirely unsuccessful.

Tripoli municipal officials had also tried to negotiate a ceasefire, but this effort fell apart on Thursday when the Sunni fighters demanded that Hezbollah withdraw entirely from Syria, something the local government couldn’t possibly make happen in the first place.

Tripoli is an import tourist destination in Lebanon, and economists are warning that the fighting is going to dramatically harm tourism across Lebanon, and particularly in the coastal city.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.