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Sectarian clashes rock Lebanese city, 3 killed

Associated Press Modified: May 13, 2012 at 9:01 am •  Published: May 13, 2012

TRIPOLI, Lebanon (AP) — Sectarian violence linked to the unrest in neighboring Syria shook the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli on Sunday, with street clashes killing one soldier and two civilians, the state news agency said.

The fighting highlights how easily trouble in Syria can raise tensions in neighboring Lebanon, with which it shares a complex web of political and sectarian ties and rivalries.

Residents said running gunbattles broke out in the city Saturday and continued through the night primarily between a neighborhood populated by Sunni Muslims opposed to Syrian President Bashar Assad and another area with many Assad backers from his Alawite sect.

Lebanon's national news agency NNA said one soldier was shot dead by a sniper in the city early Sunday. Another man was found dead on the side of a road while a third died after a shell landed in a residential neighborhood.

An Associated Press reporter in Tripoli said the Lebanese army sent reinforcements to the city, but that intermittent clashes continued Sunday with gunmen shooting at each other with automatic rifles. Heavier weapons, like rocket-propelled grenades, have also been fired.

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