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Snipers kill 11 Lebanese in Syria-linked clashes

By AFP - Dec 06,2012 - Last updated at Dec 06,2012

TRIPOLI — Snipers have shot dead 11 people, including a 13-year-old boy, in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli during three days of violence linked to the conflict in neighbouring Syria, a security official said on Thursday.

“On Thursday, a 13-year-old child was shot dead by a sniper taking aim into his family home” in a neighbourhood the majority of whose residents are Alawite, the same community to which Syria’s President Bashar Assad belongs, the official said.

Earlier in the day, three others were killed in the Alawite district of Jabal Mohsen and the Sunni Muslim district of Bab Al Tebbaneh, the official said.

Another 20 people were wounded on Thursday, including a Lebanese soldier, he added.

For three days, Tripoli has been rocked by sectarian violence linked to the nearly 21-month uprising in Syria.

Five people were gunned down on Wednesday and another two the previous day.

The violence has pitted Sunni districts against neighbouring areas populated by Alawites, and officials say the snipers come from both camps.

On Thursday, troops patrolled the restive areas and were responding to the gunfire, but snipers held their positions and continued to shoot, an AFP correspondent on the scene reported.

Lebanon is deeply divided over Syria. The Shiite movement Hizbollah, its allies and supporters bitterly oppose the revolt, and the Sunni-led March 14 movement backs it.

The country was dominated politically and militarily by Damascus for nearly 30 years, until the 2005 assassination of former premier Rafik Hariri prompted international outrage and forced a Syrian pullout.

Near-daily clashes in border areas inside Syria pit Shiite residents who support Hizbollah against anti-Assad rebels, residents and activists say.

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