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Lebanese army officer shot dead in northern city of Tripoli: state media

BEIRUT (Reuters) - A Lebanese army officer was shot dead in the country's second city of Tripoli during fighting between rival sects on Thursday, a security source and state media said. Lebanon's National News Agency said masked men on a motorcycle had opened fire on the officer, Fadi al-Jbaili, at around 6:30 a.m., killing him instantly. Fighting between Tripoli's Sunni Muslims and members of the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam, has killed at least 28 people over the last two weeks.

Three killed in fighting in Lebanon's Tripoli: sources

TRIPOLI, Lebanon (Reuters) - At least three people were killed in fighting between rival religious sects in Lebanon's second city on Wednesday, medical and security sources said, as violence from Syria spills over into the small Mediterranean country. The dead in the coastal city of Tripoli included an 11-year-old boy, as well as two men, the sources said. The long-running rivalry between Tripoli's Sunni Muslims and members of the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam, has been worsened by Syria's three-year-old conflict.

Gunmen kill Lebanon Alawite in apparent sectarian attack

Gunmen killed an Alawite in Lebanon's tense second city Tripoli on Wednesday, a security source said, in an apparent new sectarian attack linked to the conflict in neighbouring Syria. A woman bystander was also killed, and her son and a street vendor injured, when the slain man's vehicle crashed, the source added. The northern port city has been rocked by repeated bouts of violence pitting its Sunni Muslim majority, who largely support the rebels in Syria, against the Alawite minority, who back their coreligionist President Bashar al-Assad.

Tensions running high on Turkey-Syria border

Tensions are running high on the Turkey-Syria border following the shooting down of a Syrian warplane by Turkish forces at the weekend, the Turkish army said Tuesday. The military reported a dozen incidents involving its aircraft and Syrian anti-aircraft defences on Monday alone. "During one mission... five F-16 jets were followed by anti-air missiles... deployed by Syria, which were locked on our aircraft for 10 minutes, 53 seconds," it said in a statement. Local media also reported that Turkey has deployed specialist elite units on the border.

Syria opposition calls for 'sophisticated' arms

Syria's opposition chief urged Arab leaders Tuesday to pressure the international community to supply rebels with "sophisticated" weapons that would tip the balance of power on the ground. Addressing the Arab summit in Kuwait, National Coalition chief Ahmed Jarba also urged Arabs to give Syria's Arab League seat to the opposition and hand them Syria's embassies worldwide. In his address, Jarba called on Arab leaders to "pressure the international community to commit to its promises to supply sophisticated weapons to our revolutionaries". oh-wak/lyn/bpz

Ankara says Syrian jet shot down in Turkish airspace

Turkey said Sunday it had shot down a Syrian fighter jet for a breach of Turkish airspace, as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned of a "heavy" response to future violations. Syria accused its northern neighbour of "flagrant aggression" after Turkish forces shot down the warplane as it bombarded rebels near the border. But the Turkish military said two Syrian MIG-23 planes approaching its airspace were warned "four times" to turn away and that it scrambled fighter jets when one refused to do so.

Ankara says Syrian jet shot down in Turkish airspace

Turkey on Sunday said it shot down a Syrian fighter jet for a breach of Turkish airspace, as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned of a "heavy" response to future violations. Syria accused its northern neighbour of "flagrant aggression" after Turkish forces shot down the warplane as it bombarded rebels near the border. But the Turkish military said two Syrian MIG-23 planes approaching its airspace were warned "four times" to turn away and that it scrambled fighter jets when one refused to do so.

24 dead in clashes in Lebanon's Tripoli since March 13

Syria-linked clashes in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli have killed 24 people since March 13, a security source said Saturday, as sniper fire forced the closure of the highway to Syria. Tripoli has been the scene of chronic sectarian fighting since the war in Syria erupted three years ago, with gunmen from the Sunni district of Bab al-Tebbaneh battling fighters in the Alawite neighbourhood of Jabal Mohsen.

Eight days of sectarian clashes kill 24 in Lebanon's Tripoli

Eight days of Syria-linked clashes in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli have killed 24 people, a security source told AFP Saturday, as sniper fire forced the closure of the highway to Syria. Tripoli has been the scene of chronic sectarian fighting since the war in Syria erupted three years ago, with gunmen from the Sunni district of Bab al-Tebbaneh battling fighters in the Alawite neighbourhood of Jabal Mohsen.

Obama urges Lebanon to stick to election timetable

US President Barack Obama has urged Lebanon to hold elections as planned in May, despite tensions aggravated by the conflict in neighbouring Syria, the American embassy in Beirut said Saturday. President Michel Sleiman's mandate ends on May 25 and there are worries a successor will be hard to find because of disagreements between Lebanon's pro- and anti-Syria regime blocs. In a telephone call to Salam, Obama "urged that the upcoming presidential elections be held on time and in keeping with the Lebanese constitution", a statement from the US embassy said.
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