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Alawite party official gunned down in Lebanon

AFP

File picture shows Lebanese soldiers at a checkpoint at the entrance of Tripoli's Bab al-Tabbaneh Sunni areaFile picture shows Lebanese soldiers at a checkpoint at the entrance of Tripoli's Bab al-Tabbaneh Sunni area

File picture shows Lebanese soldiers at a checkpoint at the entrance of Tripoli's Bab al-Tabbaneh Sunni areaFile picture shows Lebanese soldiers at a checkpoint at the entrance of Tripoli's Bab al-Tabbaneh Sunni area

A senior official in a Lebanese Alawite party supportive of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was shot dead in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli on Thursday, a security official said.

"Masked gunmen opened fire at 7:00 am (0500 GMT) on Abdelrahman Diab," a senior official in the Arab Democratic Party, as he drove through Tripoli, which sees frequent deadly clashes between supporters and opponents of the Syrian regime, the source told AFP.

A party official said Diab was in charge of "military" affairs.

Diab, in his 50s, is the father of Youssef Diab, who has been detained by Lebanese authorities on suspicion of involvement in the twin bombings of a Tripoli mosque in August that killed 45 people.

Tripoli has been the scene of frequent deadly clashes between Alawite residents of Jabal Mohsen district, who hail from the same religious sect as Assad, and Sunni Muslims in neighbouring Bab al-Tebbaneh who support the Syrian rebels.

Lebanon itself is bitterly divided over the war in its larger neighbour, with the Shiite movement Hezbollah having sent fighters to bolster Assad's troops while Sunnis have backed the Sunni-led rebellion.

Date created : 2014-02-20