Syria-fueled fighting in Lebanon's second city kills two: sources

TRIPOLI, Lebanon Thu Mar 13, 2014 12:28pm EDT

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TRIPOLI, Lebanon (Reuters) - Fighting between rival sects in Lebanon's second city killed two people including a 10-year-old girl on Thursday, security and medical sources said, in violence stoked by the war in neighboring Syria.

Clashes between Sunni Muslims and members of the Shi'ite-derived Alawite sect in the northern city of Tripoli broke out after gunmen shot a Sunni man who had Alawite family members and lived in a mostly Alawite area of the city, the sources said.

The man later died of his wounds and at least 14 people were wounded in the ensuing clashes, including two soldiers and one gendarme after Lebanon's security services sent reinforcements in to restore order.

A 10-year-old girl was also killed by sniper fire as residents in the Sunni Bab al-Tabbaneh and Alawite Jabal Mohsen areas exchanged fire, Lebanon's National News Agency said.

The long-standing rivalry between Tripoli's Alawites and Sunnis has been worsened by sectarian tensions in Syria, where the three-year-old conflict has killed more than 140,000 people.

The periodic clashes in the coastal city have been fought with increasingly sophisticated weaponry. Some combatants now use rocket-propelled grenade launchers as well as lighter weapons like assault rifles.

Last month gunmen shot dead an Alawite military commander, causing clashes that killed at least one more person.

(Reporting by Nazih Siddiq; Writing by Alexander Dziadosz; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

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