World News

Heavy gunfire in Lebanon's Tripoli, one wounded

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Heavy gunfire broke out in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli on Friday as armed supporters and opponents of President Bashar al-Assad took to the streets after a demonstration against the Syrian leader, residents said.

Two rocket propelled grenades were fired and at least one person was wounded by stray gunfire, a security source said.

Prime Minister Najib Mikati told the head of the army to “take necessary measures to halt these events” in the city.

The coastal city is dominated by Sunni Muslims who support the 11-month uprising against Assad in neighbouring Syria, but is also home to members of Assad’s Alawite minority.

Residents said the rocket-propelled grenades were fired from the Sunni Muslim district Bab al-Tabbaneh towards the Alawite district of Jebel Mohsen, but caused no injuries.

The rival districts often clash, but tensions have heightened sharply since the outbreak of unrest in Syria. Friday’s violence came after hundreds of people demonstrated in Tripoli against Assad following weekly Muslim prayers.

Local security and medical sources said two soldiers and four civilians were wounded, but their reports could not be immediately verified.

Reporting by Nazih Siddiq, Writing by Dominic Evans; Editing by Angus MacSwan