A Sunni Sheikh was killed by a sniper fire in Lebanon's Tripoli today, reported Al Jazeera, dashing hopes of a possible ceasefire there following five days of sectarian violence between groups divided over the legitimacy of the Syrian regime.
The clashes have stoked fears of a spillover of the conflict in nearby Syria, where a mostly Sunni armed anti-government revolt has been trying to overthrow the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, who is a member of an offshoot Shiite sect, for the last 17 months. The fight has taken some 20,000 lives and destabilized the region -- particularly in Lebanon, home to a diverse Muslim community.
More from GlobalPost: Fighting over Syria erupts in northern Lebanon
The killing of the young Sunni Sheikh, 28-year-old Khaled al-Baradei, follows the deaths of over a dozen people in Tripoli in the last five days of violence, reported Al Jazeera, unrest that comes amid a series of tit-for-tat kidnappings of Lebanese people in Syria and of Syrians living in Lebanon.
The cleric died early today during clashes between Tripoli's Sunni Qobbeh district residents and members of the Alawite district of Jabal Muhsin, according to BBC.
Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati on Wednesday called on citizens to resist "efforts to drag Lebanon more and more into the conflict in Syria, when what is required is for leaders to co-operate... to protect Lebanon," reported BBC.
The following day, the nation's authorities sent soldiers backed by tanks to monitor restive areas, according to Al Jazeera.
"The authorities have been trying to contain this trouble for five days," Al Jazeera Tripoli correspondent James Bays said today, adding, "but the killing of the sheikh could change this."