BEIRUT, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) -- Clashes between the Lebanese army and fundamentalist gunmen continued Saturday, while an army patrol tank was targeted with a rocket-propelled grenade in the region of Minnieh in North Lebanon, the Lebanese army said.
The fighting has resulted in the death of two citizens and wounding of six civilians and 13 soldiers including an officer, according to the National News Agency (NNA).
Referring to a communique issued by the Guidance Directorate, the army said it has completed the deployment in the old souks (marketplace) and the al-Zahriyeh neighborhood after arresting several gunmen and wounding many others.
|Old souks, Tripoli|
Meanwhile, cautious calm had engulfed the old souks in Tripoli after the mediation by the Muslim Scholars Committee, which led to the withdrawal of the militants from the streets, NNA said.
Muslim Scholars Committee - better keep them away from Boko Haram.
But military sources stressed to LBCI TV that the army will press on with the battle against the gunmen, regardless of "what some parties are trying to do."
The military said later in a statement that it will push forward its military operation "until the gunmen are eradicated and all armed appearances are prevented in Tripoli."
It also called on citizens to "fully comply with the measures implemented by army units and to report any suspicious behavior to the military posts."
In another communique, the army claims that "terrorists are seeking to destabilize the situation in Tripoli and create incitement and sectarian strife," and points out that the army "is carrying out raids in suspicious areas to apprehend gunmen and refer them to the competent judiciary."
The gun battle initially erupted Friday in the old souks and extended to other areas. And after easing off for several hours during the night, the clashes renewed on Saturday morning.
The NNA said, reinforcements and a surveillance plane have been deployed to the areas of clashes and all roads there have been blocked.
Heavy shelling and gunfire was reportedly heard as the army launched its assault on the gunmen's positions.
Meanwhile, a group of armed men kidnapped a soldier identified as Tannous Nehmeh in the Bab el-Tebbaneh Sunni neighborhood in Tripoli, demanding the siege be lifted off in return for his release, the NNA reported.
The Army units also clashed with an armed group affiliated to Sheikh Khalid Hoblos near "Haroun Mosque" in the town of Bhanin, Minnieh on Saturday evening, using automatic weapons and rocket- propelled grenades, according to the NNA.
The NNA added that army helicopters also fired at Hoblos gunmen in response to the shooting.
I like the military response here, hit them hard and fast and eliminate the threat quickly. Good for you, Lebanon!