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Five Lebanon troops wounded in Tripoli clash

Gunmen accuse Lebanese army of targeting Sunnis in cooperation with Hezbollah
Lebanese security forces patrol a street of the northern port city of Tripoli on 23 January, 2014 (AFP)

Five Lebanese army troops and six gunmen were wounded in a clash late Friday in a historic area of the northern city of Tripoli, a security official said.

"The number of wounded soldiers has risen to five," said the official, who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity.

"Six gunmen were injured and six others were arrested."

The clash that initially erupted in the souks (traditional markets) area of Lebanon's second city also extended to other areas.

Tripoli's historic heart is listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site.

Ever since the war in neighbouring Syria broke out in 2011, Tripoli has been the scene of regular fighting between Sunni militants and members of Lebanon's Alawite minority.

Gunmen have also turned on the Lebanese army, accusing it of targeting Sunnis and of cooperating with the powerful Shiite movement Hezbollah.

Hezbollah has sent thousands of fighters into Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad.

Friday's clashes were the first since the outbreak of Syria's war to break out in the souks area, which is traditionally a touristic site.

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