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4 killed in northern Lebanon violence

  |   May 14, 2012 at 10:31 AM
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TRIPOLI, Lebanon, May 14 (UPI) -- Four people were killed Monday in northern Lebanon fighting between supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad, officials said.

One man was killed and 10 others injured in the mainly Sunni neighborhood of Bab al-Tabbaneh in Tripoli, Lebanon, The Daily Star of Beirut reported.

Haidar Yousef al-Rashed was killed amid periodic exchanges of machine-gun fire and rocket-propelled grenades between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m.

Gunbattles, which began after midnight Saturday, killed three other people, including a Lebanese army soldier, the Star said.

Violence erupted after the arrest of Shadi Mawlawi, an Islamist, on charges of maintaining ties to a "terrorist group."

General Security officials reportedly lured Mawlawi, using the pretext he would receive healthcare, to an office of Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi's welfare association in Tripoli.

General Security said Mawlawi had been detained properly and lawfully.

But Safadi criticized the arrest and Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati called it "unacceptable."

"I am personally against arresting him in this way," Mikati said Sunday.

The prime minister said the judiciary should decide whether charges are brought against Mawlawi.

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