Lebanon: army seizes strife-torn Tripoli

​Lebanon's government has ordered the coastal city of Tripoli placed under army control amid growing sectarian clashes. The move was announced after a 15-year-old boy was among four killed Dec. 3. It marks the first time since the end of the country's civil war in 1990 that the military has been ordered to take full control of a city. The new violence  broke out when Alawite residents of the Jabal Mohsen neighborhood began flying Syrian flags to demonstrate their support for Bashar Assad, and Sunni residents of nearby Bab el-Tebbaneh raised the flag of Syria's rebel coalition. The four killed were Alawites, persumably slain by Sunni gunmen, and sparking Alawite protest marches. (Al Jazeera, Dec. 3; AFP, Dec. 1)

On Dec. 4, senior Hezbollah commander, Hassan al-Laqees, was gunned down outside his home in Beirut. In a press release, Hezbollah claimed al-Laqees was assassinated by "the Israeli enemy” and added that "the enemy should bear full responsibility and all the consequences of this heinous crime and its repeated targeting of dear resistance leaders and cadres." (WSJ, Israel Defense, Dec. 4)

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  1. Terror in Beirut

    A powerful car bomb blast in downtown Beirut killed five Dec. 27—including the apparent target, Mohamad Chatah, a senior aide to former prime minister Saad Hariri and a member of Lebanon’s Future Movement party. Chatah, a Sunni Muslim, served as Hariri’s finance minister and was Lebanon’s ambassador to the United States from 1997 to 2000. He was a harsh critic of the Syrian regime and Hezbollah. (WP, NYT)

  2. Terror in Beirut —again

    At least five were killed and more than 60 injured in an apparent car bomb attack on a busy street in the Haret Hreik district of Beirut, said to be a "stronghold" of Hezbollah. (BBC News) Hezbollah's al-Manar television aired footage of panicked bystanders scrambling to douse burning vehicles on the stricken street. (AFP)