Death toll from north Lebanon violence rises to four

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Intermittent sniping between supporters and detractors of Syrian President Bashar Assad continued Wednesday in Tripoli, north Lebanon, as the death toll from the most recent round of violence between the rivals rose to four.

Security sources said Khodr Masri was identified as the fourth victim of clashes between the neighborhoods of Jabal Mohsen, which strongly supports Assad, and Bab al-Tabbaneh, where residents oppose the embattled Syrian leader.

Masri, according to the sources, died from wounds in a local hospital at dawn.

The sources said the number of wounded from the fighting also rose to 32.

Schools were closed Wednesday but some shops opened despite the frequent sound of sniping from the tense neighborhoods.

The clashes in Tripoli began Tuesday morning, in the seventh round of fighting to erupt between the two neighborhoods since the uprising against Assad gripped Lebanon’s neighbor.

Tensions had already been running high in Tripoli over reports that a group of Salafist fighters from the city had been killed in an ambush in the Syrian town of Tal Kalakh by the military there.

The Lebanese Army, which stepped up its presence in Tripoli, has vowed to respond to sources of gunfire from any side.

Prime Minister Najib Mikati, who departed to Italy late Tuesday on an official visit, has urged residents of Tripoli, his home city, to stay calm and be wary of rumors and attempts to stoke tension and spread violence elsewhere in the city.

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