Tripoli - Clashes raged in Lebanon’snorthern capital Wednesday between minority and majority supporters, killing at least four people and wounding 53, according to police and hospital records.
Reports also said four Lebanese Army soldiers were wounded by sniper fire in addition to a police officer.
The fatalities were identified as Youssef Trabolsi who was shot in the head by a sniper’s bullet, Mohammed Bahij, a Palestinian, and Layla al-Shami, who passed away from a heart attack suffered when a shell scored a direct hit on her apartment.
The Zahra Hospital in Baal Mohsen district confirmed that a dead man was admitted to its morgue but refused to identify him.
The clashes, in which rocket-propelled grenade launchers and machine
guns were used, pitted Baal Mohsen against neighboring Bab Tabbaneh.
Smoke billowed from apartment buildings in Bab Tabbaneh hit by RPGs as fire engines and ambulances, sirens wailing, rushed to combat the blaze and evacuate casualties.
Sniper fire from roof-top nests in Baal Mohsen blocked traffic across several main streets in Tripoli and led the state-run Lebanese University to freeze exams.
Education Minister Khaled Qabbani said other exams in Tripoli would persist Wednesday, but students who fail to reach schools would be given “follow-up exams” at a later date, which he did not set.
Army and police units were preparing for redeployment in the contested neighborhoods to contain the deterioration.