Suicide Bomb Kills 7 in Alawite Quarter of Lebanon's Tripoli

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Suicide Bomb Kills 7 in Alawite Quarter of Lebanon's Tripoli

Lebanese security forces and emergency personnel gather outside a cafe targeted by a suicide bombing on January 10, 2015 in Tripoli. (Agence France-Presse)

Tripoli, Lebanon:  A suicide blast killed seven people and wounded 36 others in a flashpoint Alawite neighbourhood of the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli Saturday, a Red Cross official and the army said.

"Seven people were killed and 36 others wounded in a blast that struck the Jabal Mohsen neighbourhood," the Red Cross official told AFP.

The army said that, "at around 7:30 pm (1730 GMT), a suicide attacker struck a cafe in Jabal Mohsen, killing and wounding several citizens."

A security source confirmed the reports to AFP, adding that the bodies of two of the victims had been ripped apart by the force of the blast.

Tripoli has seen frequent violence pitting gunmen in the Alawite district of Jabal Mohsen against neighbouring Sunni Bab al-Tebbaneh.

Fighting between the two districts in recent years has killed scores of people, many of them civilians caught in the crossfire.

Though the tensions have their roots in the 1975-1990 Lebanese civil war, sectarian hatred has spiralled ever since the outbreak of a revolt in neighbouring Syria.

Residents of Jabal Mohsen support Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, who belongs to an Alawite clan that has ruled the war-torn country for more than 40 years.

People in Bab al-Tebbaneh support the rebels, who like the Syrian population are mostly Sunni.

Since October, the army has deployed heavily in Tripoli, detaining hundreds of people in an attempt to stem the violence.


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