A Lebanese soldier patrols Bab al-Tebbaneh, one of two rival neighbourhoods in the northern port city of Tripoli (AFP, Joseph Eid)

TRIPOLI, Lebanon, May 17, 2012 (AFP) – One person was killed and seven were wounded on Thursday in fresh sectarian clashes between pro- and anti-Syrian districts in the north Lebanon port city of Tripoli, a security official said.

“Sporadic clashes involving the use of rockets and machineguns began at around 4:00 am (0100 GMT) between the neighbourhoods of Bab al-Tebanneh and Jabal Mohsen,” said the official, who requested anonymity.

The army, deployed in both neighbourhoods since Monday, had withdrawn and was firing back at areas where shots were coming from, the official said.

Jabal Mohsen is populated mainly by Alawites loyal to the embattled regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while Bab al-Tebbaneh residents support the opposition seeking to oust Assad.

Sectarian clashes between residents of the two districts earlier this week left nine people dead and some 50 wounded and sparked fears that the revolt in Syria could engulf its tiny neighbour.

The clashes were sparked by the arrest of a Sunni Islamist on charges of belonging to a terrorist organisation.

(National News Agency – RSS – Nepal @ 2012)