North Lebanon fighting kills one; ninth in five days

TRIPOLI, Lebanon Thu May 17, 2012 2:24am EDT

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TRIPOLI, Lebanon (Reuters) - A civilian died in fighting in Lebanon's port city of Tripoli on Wednesday night, security sources said, bringing the death toll to nine in five days of clashes in a city where sectarian tension has been growing over the revolt in neighboring Syria.

The fighting in Tripoli, 70 km (43 miles) north of Beirut, highlights how violence in Syria can spill into Lebanon, which was garrisoned by Syrian troops until 2005.

Clashes broke out on Saturday in Tripoli, home to Sunni Muslims who support the uprising in Syria and a minority Alawite community who back Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Assad himself is from the minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam, while the revolt has been led by Syria's majority Sunni Muslims.

(Reporting by Nazih Saddiq; Writing by Oliver Holmes)

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